Baldry to apologise over loan and CBE recommendation

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Indy Politics

Tony Baldry, the former Tory minister was ordered to apologise to the Commons yesterday after he recommended that a lawyer from whom he had just borrowed £5,000 should be awarded a CBE.

The all-party Committee on Standards and Privileges upheld two complaints against Mr Baldry over his dealings with the lawyer Sarosh Zaiwalla. Mr Baldry, MP for Banbury, was a minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he accepted the loan from Mr Zaiwalla on 2 January 1997.

On 14 January, he wrote to the Lord Chancellor's Department recommending that Mr Zaiwalla should receive an honour from the Queen, but without declaring he had received the loan. Mr Baldry told the committee he did "not ask for or receive" the money in return for the reference.

But the committee expressed "surprise" that Mr Baldry twice denied recommending Mr Zaiwalla, in response to inquiries by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Elizabeth Filkin.

But the committee said Mr Baldry was not required to state the loan in the Register of Member's Interests, and cleared him of breaking rules when booking rooms in the Commons for the businessman.

It found Mr Baldry, a barrister who received instructions from Mr Zaiwalla's law firm, Zaiwalla & Co, should have declared the company as clients for the purpose of booking.

Mr Baldry has agreed to apologise. Yesterday Mr Zaiwalla said he had neither solicited the reference or had knowledge it had been given.

"Neither had I any expectation of Mr Baldry to give any reference in my favour, particularly relating to honours,'' he added.