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Last Updated: Friday, 18 February, 2005, 00:09 GMT
Commons tour row MP survives vote
Jonathan Sayeed
Mr Sayeed said he was "grateful" for the decision
Conservative MP Jonathan Sayeed has survived an attempt to deselect him in a row over allegations he had profited from private tours of Parliament.

Mr Sayeed had denied a claim that he received payment for guiding visitors around the Palace of Westminster.

On Thursday night he won a vote of confidence by 173 to 126 votes at a constituency party meeting in Mid-Bedfordshire.

Constituency president Sir Stanley Odell resigned in protest.

Mr Sayeed said: "I am deeply grateful to the association for trusting me with the responsibility of being their MP."

However Sir Stanley, who chaired the 1989 Tory conference, said he was "shocked" at the outcome.

'A sad day'

He said: "I have no confidence in the member of parliament and I will be resigning as president tomorrow morning."

When asked his feelings on Mr Sayeed's conduct he added: "I would not like to comment tonight.

"I am a man of principle, I am an honest man and I am resigning my position as president. It is a sad day for the association and for the Conservative Party."

Lady Odell, who is president of the mid-Bedfordshire Conservatives Women's Advisory Association, said she also would be resigning from her position.

However, another party member, Geoffrey Beckwith, said: "Mr Sayeed has behaved impeccably, this is just a storm in a teacup."

After securing 173 of the 299 votes at the meeting, Mr Sayeed said the ballot had backed him with only 20% of the constituency's members voting against him.

Whip withdrawn

He added: "What has happened over the past few weeks caused a considerable degree of dissention.

"It is behind us now, that is the end of it, we are going to get on and win the election and that is our job."

Mr Sayeed was suspended from the Commons on 8 February for two weeks, following a report which said his conduct fell "well below the standards expected".

The MP's Tory party whip had already been withdrawn for a month.

Conservative leader Michael Howard said his behaviour had been "completely unacceptable".

The Standards and Privileges Committee inquiry was launched after the Sunday Times alleged English Manner Limited charged clients for access to Westminster through Mr Sayeed.

Mr Sayeed had denied the claims, saying the suspension was "unjust and wrong" but he made an "unreserved" apology to MPs in the Commons chamber. He insisted that the committee's report had contained a "few errors of fact".

Mr Sayeed has been MP for Mid-Bedfordshire since 1997; before that he represented Bristol East from 1983 to 1992.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Why Jonathan Sayeed is in trouble with Parliament



SEE ALSO:
Commons suspends Tory MP Sayeed
08 Feb 05 |  Politics
Tory MP awaits standards inquiry
02 Feb 05 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Jonathan Sayeed
21 Oct 02 |  Politics


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