Teresa Gorman

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Teresa Gorman
Member of Parliament
for Billericay
In office
11 June 1987 – 7 June 2001
Preceded by Harvey Proctor
Succeeded by John Baron
Personal details
Born (1931-09-30) 30 September 1931 (age 83)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative

Teresa Ellen Gorman (born 30 September 1931) is a British politician, and was Conservative Member of Parliament for Billericay, in the county of Essex in England from 1987 to 2001 when she stood down. She has worked in both education and business.

Early life[edit]

She was born Teresa Ellen Moore, her father a demolition contractor, her mother a waitress. Educated at Fulham County School in London,[1] she trained as a teacher, obtaining a 'Double First' (First Class Honours) at the University of London and, following her first wedding, worked on exchange programme in New York City.[2] Besides teaching she has run a business selling teaching aids, Banta,[1] and property developments with her first husband.[2]

Political career[edit]

Under her maiden name Moore, Gorman attempted to enter the House of Commons as an Independent candidate for the Conservative-held seat of Streatham in the October 1974 general election, when she polled 210 votes. In the same year she founded (and has chaired) the Alliance of Small Firms & Self Employed People. She later sat as an elected member of Westminster City Council from 1982 to 1986.[1]

She was elected to the House of Commons in the 1987 election. When she first sought the candidature for Billericay, she claimed to have been born in 1941 rather than 1931, believing this would increase her chances.[3] She was one of the Maastricht Rebels, who nearly brought down John Major's government over the Treaty of Maastricht.[3]

In 1992, Gorman introduced an amendment to the Representation of the People Act under the Ten Minute Rule to give two seats to each constituency, one for a male MP and one for a female. The amendment received only a first reading.

At the 1997 general election, there was a massive swing towards her opponent, but she remained a MP, with a much-reduced majority of 1,356. She tried to stand for the Conservative Mayor of London candidacy for the election in 2000, but was blocked.[3]

In February 2000, she was suspended from the House of Commons for a month for failing to disclose on the Register of Interests between 1987 and 1994 three rented properties in south London and for her failure to register two rented-out Portuguese properties from 1987-99. The Commons' Standards and Privileges committee also found she should not have introduced a Ten Minute Rule Bill in 1990 proposing the repeal of the Rent Acts without registering and declaring a financial interest.[3]

Considered an able but maverick politician,[3] Gorman was famous for her public endorsement of hormone replacement therapy,[3] (becoming dubbed "St Theresa of the Menopause" and "the Angel of HRT"[2]) her tattooed eyebrows (she shaved them off as a teenager and they never grew back) and her belief that rapists should be castrated. Gorman disliked what she termed "middle-class idiots", chauvinists, the European Union, wet Tories, and the attitude of those in the Conservative Party who thought they were born to rule. Surprisingly, in the 1997 leadership election, Gorman deserted right-winger John Redwood because she believed that he was "a bad-mannered, insensitive snob whose remarks on single mothers were a disaster". She voted for Kenneth Clarke, who was in favour of stronger ties with the EU as opposed to a eurosceptic, William Hague.

Gorman is a council member of The Freedom Association.[4] She was interviewed about her membership of the association and the rise of Thatcherism for the 2006 BBC TV documentary series Tory! Tory! Tory!.

During the United Kingdom local elections, 2012, it was reported that Gorman was supporting the United Kingdom Independence Party in her home area of Thurrock.[5]

Censure by the House of Commons Standards & Privileges Committee[edit]

Gorman was censured by the House of Commons Standards and Privileges Committee for a failure to declare a relevant interest and other breaches of the code of conduct.[6] The committee found that she failed to declare that her husband Jim Gorman owned three properties in London when she proposed the repeal of the Rents Act. Moreover, during its investigation the privileges committee MPs found she gave "seriously misleading and inaccurate information", breached the code of conduct for members and improperly contacted witnesses. She claimed that this would not have been done to a male MP if his wife had owned properties. She subsequently announced her resignation from Parliament, although her retirement was also influenced by caring for her then seriously ill then husband.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Theresa married firstly, at age 19, James (Jim) Gorman, who died of cancer in 2007. The couple had no children. She married secondly, on her birthday in 2010, Peter Clarke (aged 65 in 2012), a widower.[2] In Who's Who (2014) she does not detail her marriages beyond indicating she is married.[1][7]

Publications[edit]

  • Gorman, Teresa, MP, with Heather Kirby, The Bastards - Dirty Tricks and the Challenge to Europe, Pan Macmillan, London, 1993, (P/B), ISBN 0-330-33511-1
  • Gorman, Teresa, No, Prime Minister!, Blake Publishing, London, 2001, (H/B), ISBN 1-904034-00-4

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Who's Who, 2014. A and C Black. p. 895. ISBN 978-1-408-18119-5. 
  2. ^ a b c d e [1] Daily Mail 'Femail' article, interview with Jane Fryer, 26 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "BBC News - Teresa Gorman: Thatcherite maverick". 1 March 2000. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Freedom Association - Council & Supporters". Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Your Thurrock - Former Tory MP gives backing to Thurrock UKIP". Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "Teresa Gorman: Thatcherite maverick". Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  7. ^ By the abbreviation m. in her sketch.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Harvey Proctor
Member of Parliament for Billericay
1987–2001
Succeeded by
John Baron