Stephen Dorrell cleared over financial links with care homes

Conservative MP who headed health committee exonerated by Commons standards office over home sale and tenancy

The senior Tory MP Stephen Dorrell has been cleared by a sleaze investigation into whether he should have declared financial links with care home owners.

It emerged in November that the health select committee chairman had sold his London home to friends at a reported £70,000 profit – and was using Commons expenses to rent it back from them.

His new landlords run a chain of care homes and his committee has been carrying out an inquiry into social care.

But parliamentary standards commissioner John Lyon has rejected claims that Dorrell broke rules by failing to declare the deal.

In a letter to Labour MP John Mann, who made the complaint, Lyon said: “I have concluded that the nature of Mr Dorrell’s connection to his friends was not such as to require him to declare it as a personal interest and so to stand aside from the committee’s inquiry.

“Mr Dorrell’s evidence is that the relationship is long-standing and is not based on their business interests.

“And I accept his evidence that he did not discuss with his friends in terms the health committee’s inquiry on social care.

“But I am sure it was helpful that, following your challenge, Mr Dorrell did declare to members of the committee his relationship with his friends, although, in all the circumstances, I do not believe he was required by the rules to do so.”

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