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  5. Michael Gove ordered to investigate allegations of corruption in the ..


Michael Gove ordered to investigate allegations of corruption in the UK's largest freeport

Michael Gove said he was making “the sole and exclusive decision to support an independent review.” Photo: Andrew Milligan

Michael Gove ordered an independent review of allegations of corruption in the UK's largest freeport.

The Secretary for Advanced Studies said he had made an “exceptional decision” to commission an independent expert panel to review the reconstruction of the what used to be called Teesside Steelworks. .

Teesworks, a joint venture between two local developers and the Tees Valley United Authority, led by Conservative Mayor Ben Houchen, has been rocked by allegations of nepotism in recent weeks. corruption on an industrial scale” between Mr. Houchen and businessmen Chris Musgrave and Martin Corney.

Reports state that millions of pounds worth of land was sold for as little as £1 an acre, and Mr Musgrave and Mr Corney were given a larger share of the joint venture virtually free of charge.< /p>

Mr Hoshen denied the allegations and said they were part of Labor's “smear” campaign.

In a Teesworks statement broadcast by the BBC in April, Mr Musgrave and Mr Corney said they ” nothing to do”. hide” and accused Mr. McDonald of “abuse of power.”

Mr. Houshen wrote to Mr. Gove that he would “strongly support” a parliamentary inquiry into allegations of wrongdoing related to the 4,500-acre site.

Ben Hushen's electoral and Teeswork successes have made him a rising star in the Conservative Party. Photo: Charlotte Graham. Office (NAO) to launch a full investigation into the Teesworks project.

Mr Gove said the NAO would not be the appropriate office to conduct an investigation as it does not have the authority to inspect local governments.

However, he said: “Given the importance of this matter to you and Teesside, I have made the exceptional decision to support an independent review to review the specific allegations.”

Mr Hoshen said he welcomed Mr Gove's decision.< /p>

He added: “As someone whose main responsibility as mayor of the Tees Valley is to attract investment and create jobs for the local population, I felt that the recent misinformation and abuse of parliamentary privileges by Andy MacDonald was beginning to have a negative impact. about the prospects for Teesside and the local community.

“I believe an independent review is needed to show investors, businesses and local residents that there is no corruption, wrongdoing or illegal activity in what has become and continues to be an incredible project for workers places and investments in our region.”

A government spokesman said: “The government found no evidence of corruption, wrongdoing or illegal activities in relation to Teesworks.”

> “These allegations, however, represent represents a very real risk to much-needed job creation and economic growth in Teesside.

Given the importance of this matter to Teesside, and the request of the Mayor of Tees Valley, the Secretary of State has made the exceptional decision to support an independent external verification.

“In line with established practice, the government will soon announce the appointment of a commission to conduct the review.”

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