Parliamentary tours MP to resign over ill-health

A Tory MP who narrowly survived an attempt to deselect him over allegations that he had profited from private tours of Parliament announced his resignation yesterday.

Jonathan Sayeed said he was quitting as MP for Mid-Bedfordshire on health grounds.

He was suspended from the Commons for two weeks last month, and lost the Tory whip for a month, after the Standards and Privileges Committee said his conduct had fallen "well below the standards expected". He has always denied profiting from the tours run by a company he had set up.

The controversy led to a vote of confidence by his constituency association, which he won by 173 to 126 votes.

Ashley Green, chairman of the Mid-Bedfordshire Conservative Association, said he did not believe the resignation was linked to the scandal: "I am naturally sorry that it has come to this and I hope that he returns to good health. What we have to do now is look forward."

It was not clear whether Mr Sayeed, 56, would continue as MP for the seat, which he has held since 1997, until the general election expected on 5 May.

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