Election '97: Cash-for-questions row Tory adopted in secret

Michael Brown, one of the Tory MPs at the centre of the cash-for- questions affair, was adopted as prospective candidate for Brigg and Cleethorpes at a hastily held secret meeting of the constituency association on Monday night. The meeting had been brought forward from Friday in order to avoid any publicity for Mr Brown who has not made any public appearance since the cash for questions controversy erupted again just before Easter.

In evidence to the Downey inquiry Mr Brown admitted that he accepted pounds 6,000 to lobby on behalf of a tobacco company in 1988 and 1989 to allow an oral tobacco product, Skoal Bandits, to be allowed into Britain, without it in the Register of Members' Interests. He also admitted not telling ministers about his backing from the firm, United States Tobacco. At Monday's meeting, he won over doubters by apologising for accepting the money and for not declaring it to the Inland Revenue until the payments became public knowledge in 1996.