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 Teresa Ellen Moore
(1931-09-30)30 September 1931
Putney, London, England, UK
Died 28 August 2015(2015-08-28) (aged 83)
UK
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
UK Independence Party
Spouse(s) James Gorman (m. 1952–2007; his death)
Peter Clarke (2010–2015; her death)
Occupation Politics, teaching, sales, property management

Teresa Ellen Gorman (née Moore; 30 September 1931 – 28 August 2015) was a British politician. She was Conservative Member of Parliament for Billericay, in the county of Essex in England, from 1987 to 2001 when she stood down. She was a leading figure in the rebellions over the Maastricht Treaty that nearly brought down John Major's government. She worked in both education and business.

Early life[edit]

Gorman was born Teresa Ellen Moore at Putney.[1] Her father was a demolition contractor, her mother a waitress. Educated at Fulham County School in London,[2] she left grammar school at 16, at her parents' insistence, to start work, then trained to teach at Brighton College of Education (qualifying in 1951), and earned a double First in Biology and Zoology at University College London, obtaining a 'Double First' (First Class Honours). After marrying her first husband, James Gorman, whose surname she would keep throughout her life, she worked on an exchange programme in New York City.[3] Besides teaching she ran a business selling teaching aids, Banta,[2] and was involved in property development with her first husband.[3]

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, polling 210 votes.[citation needed] In the same year she founded (and later chaired) the Alliance of Small Firms & Self-Employed People. She later sat as an elected member of Westminster City Council from 1982 to 1986.[2]

Gorman 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.[4] She was one of the Maastricht Rebels, who nearly brought down John Major's government over the Treaty of Maastricht.[4]

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. She was a prominent figure in the group of Conservative rebels over European issues. In 1994, she had the Conservative whip withdrawn for refusing to back the EC Finance Bill.[5]

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.[4]

In February 2000, she was suspended from the House of Commons for a month for failing to disclose on the Register of Members Interests between 1987 and 1994 three rented properties in south London and for her failure to register two rented-out Portuguese properties from 1987 to 1999. 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.[4]

Considered an able but maverick politician, Gorman was known for her public endorsement of hormone replacement therapy[4] (becoming dubbed "St Theresa of the Menopause" and "the Angel of HRT"),[3] her tattooed eyebrows (she shaved them off as a teenager and they never grew back)[citation needed] and her belief that rapists should be castrated.[citation needed]

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.[6]

Gorman was a council member of the Freedom Association.[7] She was interviewed about her membership of the association and the rise of Thatcherism for the BBC TV documentary series Tory! Tory! Tory! (2006).

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.[4]

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 subsequently announced her resignation from Parliament, although her retirement was also influenced by caring for her husband Jim, who had cancer.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Teresa and James Gorman wed in 1952. He died of cancer in 2007. On her birthday in 2010, she married Peter Clarke, a widower, who survives her. She had no children.[3] In Who's Who (2014) she did not detail her marital status beyond "married".[2][8]

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. ^ "Teresa Gorman, Tory MP – obituary", telegraph.co.uk, 28 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Who's Who, 2014. A and C Black. p. 895. ISBN 978-1-4081-8119-5. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Jane Fryer, "Still frisky at 81 thanks to HRT! Former Tory MP who's the treatment's biggest cheerleader", dailymail.co.uk, 26 October 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Teresa Gorman: Thatcherite maverick". BBC News. 1 March 2000. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Notice of death of Teresa Gorman, bt.com; accessed 28 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Your Thurrock – Former Tory MP gives backing to Thurrock UKIP". Retrieved 5 May 2012. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Council & Supporters". The Freedom Association. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  8. ^ 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