Labour MP defends bus shares holding

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The Independent Online
A former Labour transport spokesman last night defended his position after it emerged he stands to enjoy a profit on paper of about £40,000 from shares in a privatised bus company when it is floated on the Stock Exchange.

Peter Snape, MP for West Bromwich East, a non-executive director of the West Midlands Travel company, was given 40,000 shares at 55p each after it was privatised. They are now valued at £1.50 and could go higher when shares are traded.

Mr Snape said he was not embarrassed by the share option scheme after being named in the Commons by Henry Bellingham, a Tory MP, who taunted Labour for cashing in on a "privatised success story".

In a jibe at Labour's plans to keep British Rail as a publicly-owned service, John Major said: "I suppose it's another indication it's better to be a former Labour transport spokesman than the current transport spokesman [Michael Meacher]."

Mr Snape said: "The company has been employee-owned for four years. Twelve months ago, the directors decided to allocate share options. Seven per cent went to executives and garage managers, and 93 per cent to employees. I said when they were allocated Iwould not cash them for three years. After that time, I would translate them into shares in the company to give me a long-term stake."