Yet another undeclared directorship for Robinson

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The Independent Online
GEOFFREY ROBINSON faced increasing pressure to resign last night as yet another official complaint was filed about his failure to register business interests.

Mr Robinson held a pounds 5,500 shareholding in a company making robots for three years without registering his interest, it emerged yesterday.

The Independent reported yesterday that Mr Robinson never registered seven directorships in subsidiaries of his engineering company TransTec PLC . Mr Robinson has said he was not required to register the directorships. The Paymaster General apologised to the House of Commons last month for failing to register two other directorships.

The latest complaint, filed to the new Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Elizabeth Filkin, concerns a shareholding in RJ Engineers, a Midlands-based firm. In return for financial backing, Mr Robinson received a 10 per cent stake and a directorship of the company when it launched in 1990. Commons rules say shareholdings should be listed in the Register of Members' Interests.

Last night Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, a member of the Conservatives' Treasury team, called for an urgent investigation. "If the man has any honour and if this government has any integrity, he ought to resign," he said.

Roger Evans, owner of RJ Engineers, said the MP had put up some money to help him start his business. "Geoffrey was good to me - he gave us a start. He put in pounds 5,500 and so did I. We repaid all that and a bit of interest," he said.

Mrs Filkin, who will take up her post in early February, will find a pile of complaints about Mr Robinson awaiting her. A senior member of staff will handle complaints in the interim.

As well as two letters from Mr Clifton-Brown about the directorships and shareholding, there have also been fresh allegations about Mr Robinson's relationship with Robert Maxwell.

Mr Robinson wrote to The Independent last night saying he was not required to register the seven directorships mentioned in yesterday's paper, all of which were of subsidiaries of his engineering firm, TransTec. Sources close to the minister said a memo to MPs about a rule change in June 1993 had asked them to update their registration by January 1994 in time for a new published register. Mr Robinson resigned the directorships in December 1993. However, a senior political figure involved with the rule change told The Independent Mr Robinson had technically been in breach from the date on which the rules were introduced. Mr Robinson's spokesman refused to comment when the complaint was put to him on Sunday.