Tory MP faces bankruptcy over unpaid taxes and may have to resign | conservative


A Conservative MP faces bankruptcy proceedings for unpaid taxes that could result in his being forced to resign.

Another blow to Boris Johnson’s contested party, court records show that HMRC filed for bankruptcy against Adam Afriyie, who has represented Windsor since 2005.

Under parliamentary rules, Seated MPs who have been declared bankrupt must step aside. That would cause new turmoil for the prime minister, whose party is already due for three by-elections.

Afriyie, 56, grew up in a council estate in Peckham, south London, but made a name for himself as a successful entrepreneur after founding the IT company Connect Support Services and subsequently co-founding political information provider DeHavilland. Shortly after his first election in 2005, this business, in which he owned 72%, was sold to publishing giant Emap for £ 13 million.

According to land registry records, he paid £ 4 million for a house in his Windsor constituency in 2008. It was described by real estate agents at the time as having an octagonal music room and decorative bell tower, and eight bedrooms. In 2015, it emerged that the house was being rented through AirBnB for around £ 1,950 a night. Reviews showed the property was rented at least eight times a year, suggesting a minimum of £ 15,600 was paid based on the advertised price.

However, Connect Support Services went bankrupt in 2017 and it was reported at the time that it had amassed £ 1.7 million in debt with HMRC, the main creditor in Afriyie’s upcoming bankruptcy proceedings. He was reported first faced with a possible bankruptcy proceeding before the 2019 election.

An HMRC spokesman said, “We don’t comment on identifiable taxpayers.”

Afriyie was asked for a comment. His entry in the latest register of MPs’ financial interests is simply “zero”.

Once touted by friends as a possible future leader, Afriyie stood behind a rebellious Tory scheme to force David Cameron to hold an EU referendum before the 2015 elections, arguing he couldn’t sleep at night if the public didn’t have a say Subject before the vote. He was also rumored to be behind a plan to oust Cameron in 2013.

The Conservatives are facing three by-elections in the safe seats of the Conservatives in the coming weeks.

Owen Paterson’s constituency in North Shropshire is up for grabs after he resigned after an uproar over his attempts to avoid the House of Commons suspension following a lobbying scandal.

North Shropshire is one of the safest seats in the country for the Conservatives with a majority of 22,949. They are expected to hold the seat, but the vote is likely to take place this side of Christmas as the Tories are not interested in a campaign dragging on and opposition candidates to build up steam.

The other by-election, likely to take place in December, is the seat of former Minister James Brokenshire at Old Bexley and Sidcup, who died of cancer last month. The seat is also considered extremely safe with a majority of 18,952.

Opposition parties have said they will not contest the Southend West by-election sparked by the murder of David Amess last month out of respect for his memory. A fourth by-election is possible in Leicester East, the seat of former Labor MP Claudia Webbe, after she was found guilty of harassment, including threatening to use acid on a partner’s friend. She plans to appeal.

Creditors can ask a court to make someone broke if you owe at least £ 5,000. The court order usually takes a year, after which the person is “released” and does not have to repay the debts affected by the bankruptcy. In the UK, between 800 and 1,500 people are declared bankrupt every month, with thousands more subject to Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA).

Several former MPs have previously been declared bankrupt, including Neil Hamilton, a former Tory MP who is now Ukip leader, Jane Griffiths, an elected Labor MP, and former Labor MP Jim Devine, who was convicted of expense fraud. In the more distant past, Tory Party members were accused in the 1990s of banding together to rescue a bankrupt MP to avoid losing a seat.

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