You may remember that a lad was walking home from his girlfriend's house on one hot night of the London riots in August. He was thirsty and helped himself to two bottles of water from a shop that had been looted and was sitting open. Total value of his theft, around £2.80. He was sent to prison for 6 months.
With the agreement of the government courts were encouraged to hand down severe sentences to anyone who had been even remotely involved. For example, two lads who posted invitations to the riots on the Facebook pages were sentenced to 4 years in prison.
When cases went to the English Appeal Court they were upheld.
Baron Haddingfield, a man in a position where no one would question his integrity because of his station, a man who was bowed and scraped to, who was entitled to a chauffeur driven car, and who was called a Noble Lord, in fact a man people might have been expected to look up to stole, not 2 bottles of water worth £2.80, but £28,000. He was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment but actually only served 9 weeks because he was feeling poorly.
Baroness Uddin stole £125,000 from us by pretending that she lived at the seaside and was obliged to purchase another house in London because she had to attend the House of Lords. In fact she had had the house in London for many years. Her kids had been brought up there. The seaside flat was unfurnished and she never went there. It was all a great big scam to make her some money. And she went further. She would walk into the Lords, sign in, and walk out another door, spending less than 5 minutes in the building. For that she claimed her daily allowance of £300.
She hasn't been sent to prison at all, although the police are said to be looking into her case a couple of years on.
But now the House of Lords has decided to punish them and all their grubby little mates most severely. Yes, draconian measures are to be taken.
From now on they won't be allowed to return to the House of Privilege until the money has been repaid, or until the next UK General Election, whichever comes first. They will, of course retain their titles and styles.
Nooooooooooo, I hear you cry in unison, at the severity of the punishment. Take it to the European Court of Lordly Rights.
The Lords' authorities have decided against trying to pursue noble members through the courts as they think that judges would not be prepared to hear cases involving the rights of the house.
Dear dear, and I thought London had police! Where's Cressida Dick when you erm need her?