The Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, intervened in the trial of an expenses-fiddling peer in the hope of getting him spared a jail sentence.
Ms Hudson-Wilkin wrote to the judge presiding over the trial of Lord Taylor, who was convicted of fraudulently claiming expenses of £11,000, appealing for him to be spared prison, saying she would help oversee a community service order.
Fortunately, the judge did not listen to this special pleading and as a consequence, Lord Taylor was jailed for a year.
Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society said: “It is extraordinary that this cleric imagines she can use her position to wangle special treatment from the law. It is just as well that her appeal fell on deaf ears – there must never be different rules of justice for anyone, whatever their religion, race or status.
Lord Taylor now faces financial ruin with a confiscation hearing in December to seek the repayment of thousands of pounds of fraudulently claimed expenses not covered by the prosecution. He is likely to remain a member of the House of Lords. Peers can be expelled only by an Act of Parliament.