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The BBC's Nick Robinson
"This is a very serious charge indeed."
 real 28k

Thursday, 17 February, 2000, 11:49 GMT
Gorman faces Commons suspension

Teresa Gorman: Withdrew co-operation with the committee


Tory backbencher Teresa Gorman should be suspended from the House of Commons for a month after failing to declare all her property interests, a committee of MPs has recommended.

The recommendation for the ban came from the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee in response to the findings of the Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards, Elizabeth Filkin.

In her report, Ms Filkin found that Mrs Gorman failed to register interests in three properties in south London during the 1987-94 period, which were let to tenants and from which she derived substantial income.

Mrs Gorman, who withdrew her co-operation with the committee, earlier accused it of acting "like the Spanish Inquisition".

The maverick MP insisted that she had not intentionally misled parliamentary standards commissioner Elizabeth Filkin.

Offshore trust

The Filkin report found the MP
Failed to register two properties in Portugal rented out to tenants
Gave "seriously misleading" information about her connections with some offshore companies
Should not have introduced a Bill without registering and declaring her financial interest
The Eurosceptic MP, barred by her party last year from becoming the Tories' candidate for London mayor, said that she had inadvertently left her name on the land register for these properties when she and her husband split their assets in 1986.

Mrs Filkin also criticised Mrs Gorman for providing "seriously misleading and inaccurate information" to the Select Committee on Standards and Privileges, its chairman, the Commons' registrar, and to Mrs Filkin herself.

She also concluded that the MP "improperly contacted witnesses during the investigation of these complaints".

Mrs Filkin said: "Mrs Gorman failed to uphold the code of conduct for members in that she neither fulfilled the registration requirements nor observed the principles of honesty and accountability which it requires."

Parliament will now have to vote on the committee's recommendations that Mrs Gorman be suspended from the House.

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See also:
18 Jan 00 |  UK Politics
Gorman faces interests inquiry
03 Jan 00 |  UK Politics
Gorman denies defection report

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