Parliament: Members Interests: Gorman failed to declare shareholdings in register

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The Independent Online
THE TORY MP Teresa Gorman had to apologise to the House of Commons yesterday for failing to list directorships, shareholdings and property in the Register of Members' Interests. The humiliation of the Essex MP could mark the start of a new, tougher era in which House of Commons rules are enforced more rigorously.

The new Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Elizabeth Filkin, uncovered several additional breaches while investigating a query about Mrs Gorman, the outspoken right-wing member for Billericay.

The original complaint came from David Thomas, a fireman from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, who had been offended by remarks Mrs Gorman made about his colleagues in Essex during a strike. Mrs Gorman had described the strikers as "shroud-waving dinosaurs" and said the Algarve was "stuffed" with healthy former firemen living on disability pensions.

Mr Thomas contacted Mrs Filkin after she appealed for ordinary people to come forward if they had information about MPs' conduct.

The rulings concerned the company Mrs Gorman ran before becoming an MP in 1987, a firm called Banta, which sold medical and biological teaching aids and had a turnover of up to pounds 150,000. Mrs Filkin found that the MP failed to register a directorship of the company between 1991 and 1993, and a 99.99 per cent shareholding in it between 1989 and 1996, when she sold her interest.

Mrs Gorman also failed to register an interest in property used by Banta in Norwood, south London, and a directorship and shareholding in another firm, Reamfield Ltd, which received her fees from Banta as well as any other sums she earned from writing or media work.

Mrs Gorman told MPs she fully accepted the way in which the complaint was investigated and the conclusions drawn by the committee.

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