Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Seventeenth Report



ANNEX A (ii)

COMPLAINT

Disclosure of Interests

"In any debate or proceeding of the House or its Committees or transactions or communications which a Member may have with other Members or with Ministers or servants of the Crown, he shall disclose any relevant pecuniary interest or benefit of whatever nature, whether direct or indirect, that he may have had, may have, or may be expecting to have." Standards in Public Life Nolan Report May 1995.

When contributing to debates in the House, Mr R E Sheldon consistently failed to declare an interest in any of the companies or their commercial activities from which he derived substantial income.

Complaints ref: Register of Members Interests 2000 NB Categories unchanged since 1993

1.  Remunerated directorships

In this section Members are required to register any remunerated directorships which they hold in public or private companies. Members are also required to register directorships which are unremunerated if the companies are associated with or subsidiaries of a company in which the Member holds a remunerated directorship.

a) R E Sheldon failed to declare an interest in Tonrose Ltd.

From 1992 Acronyl Ltd., whose principal shareholder is R E Sheldon, acquired 49.38% interest in Tonrose Ltd. This holding was not registered under any category until 1999 when Acronyl Ltd acquired the remaining shares in Tonrose Ltd.

b) R E Sheldon failed to declare an interest in Jugotekstil Ltd.

The Financial Statement (1985) of R E Sheldon Ltd states R E Sheldon & T E Sheldon are Director and Shadow Director of Jugotekstil Ltd.

2. Remumunerated employment, office, profession etc.

This is the section for registering outside employment, professions and sources or remuneration not clearly covered elsewhere in the registration form. This includes membership of Lloyds's of London; Lloyd's members are required to disclose the categories of insurance underwritten.

R E Sheldon railed to declare remuneration from Jugotekstil Ltd.

In 1985 accounts of Jugotekstil Ltd., show that R E Sheldon Ltd., received administration fees of £13,000 and £16,000 in 1986.

9. Registrable shareholdings

In this section Members are required to register the name of any public or private or other body in which, to their knowledge, they have a beneficial interest in a shareholding having a nominal (i.e. face) value: (a) greater than 1 per cent of the issued share capital of the company or body, or (b) less than 1 per cent of the issued share capital but more than £25,000. The letters (a) and (b) are used accordingly in the printed entries. The requirements extends to holdings in which the interest is held by or on behalf of the Member's spouse or dependent children.

R E Sheldon failed to declare a shareholding in Tonrose Ltd greater than 1% of the issued share capital.

In 1992 Acronyl Ltd acquired 49.38% of the shares in Tonrose Ltd., (i.e. 40 of the 81 shares in Tonrose Ltd.). Mr R E Sheldon owned all of the Acronyl shares, bar 1 (folio 8[15]). In 1999 Acronyl Ltd acquired the rest of the shares in Tonrose Ltd., plus all of the shares in R E Sheldon Ltd., thus consolidating them into a single company (Acronyl Ltd) in which Mr R E Sheldon has the controlling interest. Tonrose Ltd., was not entered in the Register until 1999. There is no indication of these major acquisitions by Acronyl Ltd.

10. Miscellaneous and unremunerated interests

This is a discretionary section for the registration by Members of interests which do not clearly fall within any of the above categories but which they consider to fall within the Register's purpose.

R E Sheldon failed to have regard to the definition of the main purpose of the Register which states:

"In considering whether to register members should have regard to the definition of the main purpose of the Register: "to provide information ... which might reasonably be thought be others to influence his actions or speeches or votes in Parliament." If a member considers any shareholdings which he or she holds falls within this definition the Member should register this shareholding under Category 10." Guide to Code of Conduct July 1996.

INTER-LINKED NATURE OF COMPANIES IN THE SHELDON FAMILY EMPIRE (FOLIO 13-15[16])

Shares in all four companies were or are held by:-

R E Sheldon MP, Terrence Michael Sheldon (son), Mrs Gillian Wendy Sargeant (nee Sheldon) daughter Mrs Mary Sheldon (wife). Mrs Eileen Sheldon (wife deceased). D Sargeant, H Sargeant.

In 1992 Acronyl Ltd purchased 49.38% of Tonrose Ltd's shares (folios 12-13[17]) and the shareholdings were as follows:

*Acronyl

Ltd

*R E Sheldon

Ltd

Tonrose

Ltd

Jugotekstil

Ltd

RE Sheldon

TM Sheldon

GW Sargeant

Acronyl Ltd

Mary Sheldon

Ex. Eileen Sheldon

999

1

1949


50

1


40

1

40


99

1

Total issued shares 1000 2000 81 100

*see folios 7-8.[18]

In 1999 a substantial reorganisation took place:

  • R E Sheldon Ltd became a wholly owned subsidiary of Acronyl Ltd in 1999 (folio 9[19]).

  • In 1999 the shareholding position of Acronyl Ltd changed. A fresh allotment of 189 shares was made (folio 10) bringing the total shares to 1189.

  • Robert Sheldon also transferred some shares to other people. The shares are now distributed as follows: Mr Robert Sheldon (790), Mr T M Sheldon (287), Mrs G W Sargeant (78), Mr D Sargeant (17), Ms H Sargeant (17). The details are at folio 11.[20]

The new shareholding structure is now as follows:
Acronyl

Ltd

R E Sheldon

Ltd

Tonrose

Ltd

Jugotekstil

Ltd

RE Sheldon

TM Sheldon

GW Sargeant

D Sargeant

H Sargeant

Acronyl Ltd

790

287

78

17

17






2000





81

99

1

Total issued shares 1189 2000 81 100

Until 1999 Mr Sheldon held the majority shareholdings in R E Sheldon Ltd and Acronyl Ltd.

3.  MR SHELDON'S INTERESTS IN JUGOTEKSTIL LIMITED (FOLIO 16-17[21])

These interests have never been disclosed in the Register of members Interests.

Jugotekstil Ltd had these dealings with R E Sheldon Ltd according to the audited statutory accounts.



Sales

Purchases

Administration Charges

  1984

  £

Nil

Nil

11,500

1985

£

210,000

220,000

13,000

1986

£

  10,000

  15,000

Administration charges were paid by Jugotekstil Ltd to R E Sheldon Limited

This information has been extracted from the audited accounts of R E Sheldon Limited filed at Companies House (folio 16-17[22]). In the same audited accounts it states "During the year the Company had the following transactions with a Company which Mr T M Sheldon and Mr R E Sheldon had a material interest" (folio 16[23]). And also "In addition, the Company had the following transactions with Jugotekstil Limited in which Mr T M Sheldon had a material interest." (Folio 17[24]).

Also according to sources at Tonrose House, since JUGOTEKSTIL was taken over by Acronyl Limited in 1999, Mr Sheldon has effectively owned the controlling interest in Jugotekstil Limited.

4.  MR SHELDON'S INTERESTS IN TONROSE LIMITED (APPENDIX 2, FOLIO 3 & 4[25])

Mr R E Sheldon has had a de facto stake in Tonrose Limited through his shareholding in Acronyl Limited. Since 1992 Acronyl Limited's ownership of 49.38% of Tonrose Limited' shares made Mr Sheldon an effective controlling shareholder in Tonrose Limited because he owned the overwhelming controlling interest in Acronyl Limited. His son, who also owned shares in Tonrose Limited, was both a director of R E Sheldon Limited and Acronyl Limited.

Mr Sheldon's control over Tonrose Limited strengthened when, in 1999, Acronyl Limited became the sole owner of Tonrose Limited, while Mr Sheldon remained the controlling shareholder of Acronyl Limited.

Speeches in the House of Commons by the Rt Hon Robert Sheldon MP

Register of Members' Interests: Introduction:

"The registering of interests is additional to, and in no way a replacement of, the requirement of Members to declare their interests when they speak in debate."

Speeches by Mr Sheldon

DATE HANSARD SUBJECT
20-4-1999
744
Industry Bill

Money for industry

24-11-1999
646

647
Debate on the Address

"I am increasingly worried about the delay in accepting the Euro."

"A number of manufacturers are querying Britain as an off-shore island and are considering that their future investment may be necessary in the Eurozone."

23-3-1998
62
Budget Resolutions & Economic situations

"The government took office accepting that manufacturing industry faces problems". References to capital allowances and exchange rates; "Our self-exclusion from monetary union.

Postponement of EMU.

27-11-1996
379
Budget resolutions and economic situations

The effect of interest rate changes on exports and imports

3-12-1996
826

850

851
Budget resolutions and economic situation

The effect of exchange rates on exports and imports

"I have long argued for a real investment incentive for manufacturing."

"One further problem for manufacturing industry is the strength of the pound". That was the lesson of the 1960s the 1970s and the 1980s.

4-12-1995
35
Budget resolutions and economic situation

Capital allowances.

5-12-1995
172

173

174
"I have always argued for a much lower exchange rate."

"They ignored manufacturing industry."

"Capital allowances must be brought up to date."

I should like regional development agencies to expand to other parts of the country."

6-12-1994
185

186
Budget resolutions and economic situation

"To achieve necessary investment in industry, incentives must be given."

"The whole purpose of investment in manufacturing industry is to provide wealth."

23-3-1993
654
Budget resolutions and economic situation

"Personally, I can never forgive the government for reducing the number of firms in my constituency by 30% manufacturing firms, in the main."

"The Budget has given some assistance here and there, but it provides little for manufacturing industry."

What the government should do for small businesses and manufacturing industry and exporters. Investment in manufacturing and currency exchange rates.

7-12-1993
768


169
Budget resolutions and economic situation

Legislation to deal with late payments. " Many businesses have serious cash flow difficulties."

The importance of industrial incentives

25-11-1993
623
The Economy

The problems of manufacturing industry. Investment 'incentives'.

25-10-1993
591
Public Accounts

VAT debts of small traders.

26-4-1993
789


790
Finance (No. 2) Bill

Manufacturing industry investment incentives;' the strength of the pound. Public spending cuts.

"The City has advocated a dear pounds and high interest rates, both of which affect our vital Companies in Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and our industrial centres on which we depend."

"Our manufacturing skills have been overtaken by those scores of countries." The government talk about helping manufacturing, but do not do anything."


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