The Rt Hon Sir Jonathan Murgatroyd today made this statement:
“I regret having to take this step but in light of the continuing unfounded allegations against me, I feel I have no option but make a public statement at this time.
“I have never met Mr Gillard Ruddygore. I have never had a relationship with Mr Gillard Ruddygore. I have never borrowed money from Mr Gillard Ruddygore. Although I have previously conversed with Mr Ruddygore electronically, ours has always been a strictly business relationship. Until Sunday’s newspaper report, I believed Mr Ruddygore to be a financial adviser from Runcorn.
“With hindsight, I should not have requested photographic confirmation from Mr Ruddygore that he was as muscular as a bullock, nor should I have suggested any form of attire he might wear in such a photograph. It was inappropriate and had no bearing on any business venture we may have planned together.
“Nor should I have requested details of financial schemes that have been wilfully misinterpreted by the gutter press as ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes. I merely hoped Mr Ruddygore, in his role as a financial advisor, might be able to help me invest a small windfall I had received from a family passing in a way that maximized my short term gains. I certainly did not press Mr Ruddygore for financial incentives in return for a business advantage associated with my public duties.
“I would like to apologize if I have caused any misunderstanding and in particular, to my beloved wife Doreen. Arranging to meet Mr Ruddygore in our holiday home for a weekend was perhaps an error of judgement, even though it provided a perfect location for a long business meeting where we would not be overlooked or interrupted.
“I would like to reassure my constituents and the party that I fully intend to put this unfortunate matter behind me and will resume my portfolio of duties later today.
“That is all I have to say on the matter.”
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