LORD HANNINGFIELD will appear at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court court today accused of theft by false accounting.
The charges relate to his claims for House of Lords allowances.
The prosecution, at a court a short distance from Parliament, is the first to result from the Westminster expenses scandal.
The peer denies any wrongdoing; but, if found guilty, could face a jail sentence of up to seven years.
He faces six charges of false accounting, relating to claims for overnight allowances from the House of Lords between 2006 and 2009, when records allegedly show he was in fact driven to his home near Chelmsford.
Hanningfield was suspended from the parliamentary Conservative Party and stood down as leader of Essex County Council.
He said he was “extremely disappointed” to be charged and insisted all his expenses claims were made in good faith.
The charges were announced by Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer following a nine-month investigation triggered by the leak of expenses details to The Daily Telegraph.