Indian-born steel magnate Swraj Paul and two other peers of South Asian descent were suspended from the British House of Lords on Thursday over their expense claims amid growing disquiet among the Asian community over the move.
At least one Asian peer voiced his anger in the House of Lords while several Labour figures spoke about their worries to Hindustan Times after the upper house of parliament upheld the Privilege Committee’s suspension recommendation.
Paul was suspended for four months although he has already apologised and returned more than the £40,000 (R28 lakh) that he owed. Indian-born cross-bencher Lord Amir Bhatia, who has returned the £27,000 he owed and apologised, was suspended for eight months. Bangladeshi-origin Baroness Paula Uddin was suspended until Easter 2012 and ordered to apologise and pay up £125,349.
A prominent Asian Labour MP told HT: “In the Asian community there is a big question mark over this decision. Why only these three, when there are so many others who have done much worse?”
All three showed out-of-town residences to be their main home while staying in London in order to claim overnight expenses. However, at least nine other white peers — including one who claimed more than £100,000 — have been let off after furnishing apologies, according to The Sunday Times newspaper.