Former Tory MP escapes bankruptcy

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A bankruptcy petition which had threatened to wreck the political career of former Conservative minister Rod Richards by robbing him of his seat at the Welsh Assembly was dismissed in London yesterday.

A bankruptcy petition which had threatened to wreck the political career of former Conservative minister Rod Richards by robbing him of his seat at the Welsh Assembly was dismissed in London yesterday.

The 53-year-old former Welsh Office minister was at the High Court when a registrar ruled that to make him bankrupt would cause him far more prejudice than would be caused to his creditors if no order were made, and would "seriously impair his ability to earn a living".

The petition was brought on behalf of Mr Richards's creditors - owed about £200,000 - by accountant Robert Valentine. The bankruptcy registrar was told that Mr Richards defaulted on a £7,500 payment, due in December last year, by not paying it until March this year. The reason was that he had to fund his defence to a criminal charge of causing grievous bodily harm to a young woman - a charge of which he was acquitted.

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