Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has been evicted from a £1.5million property owned by his family’s firm – and ordered to pay out £800,000 in costs – after a dispute in which a High Court judge ruled that he ‘lied’ under oath.
Bridgen, 57, has been locked in a long legal wrangle with AB Produce, headed by estranged younger brother Paul, 55.
The MP was formerly a board member at the Derbyshire-based family business, which supplies vegetables to caterers, earning a second salary of £93,000 for attending monthly meetings.
Since 2015, he also lived rent-free in the five bedroom country house in Coleorton, Leicestershire, owned by the company, along with his wife Nevena, 42, and son. Bridgen previously owned the property himself but sold it to the family firm for £1.5million in 2012.
Bridgen insisted that he was forced out of his role at AB Produce and has spent years suing the business, The Times reports.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen (pictured with his wife Nevena) has been ordered to vacate his family home and pay out £800,000 after a dispute with his brother’s firm – in which a High Court judge ruled that he ‘lied’ under oath
The five-bedroom Old Vicarage in Coleorton, Leicestershire, comes with a sauna, swimming pool and 5.5 acres of land. Owned by family firm AB Produce, Bridgen and his wife lived in the property without charge from 2015 until their eviction last month
But in a ruling which was revealed last week, a judge evicted Bridgen and ordered him to pay legal costs of £800,000 after finding that he had behaved in an ‘abusive’, ‘arrogant’ and ‘aggressive’ way.
Far from being forced out, Judge Brian Rawlings found that Bridgen had voluntarily stepped down from his board role in order to reduce his maintenance payments to his first wife, Jackie, after their divorce.
Judge Rawlings also found that Bridgen had pressurised a local police inspector to undertake an expensive one-year investigation against his younger brother, making vexatious allegations.
Bridgen and his family were given a deadline of August 24 to vacate the property, the Old Vicarage – understood to be valued at around £1.5million. While living in the 18th century home, which includes a sauna, swimming pool and 5.5acres of land, Bridgen also reportedly refused to rent or bills for water and electricity.
Bridgen Investments – a property company within the AB Produce portfolio – purchased the home from Bridgen for £1.5million in 2012, Land Registry documents show.
In his ruling, High Court judge Brian Rawlings found that Bridgen had voluntarily stepped down from his £93,000 board role at AB Produce in order to reduce his maintenance payments to his first wife, Jackie, after their divorce
He moved into the Old Vicarage in 2015 after divorcing from his first wife Jackie, with whom he has two sons. It had previously been their family home until they bought a luxury property with a swimming pool and tennis court in 2011 for £2.1million, which they sold in 2015 after their split.
Besides the £800,000 in legal costs to be paid to the three shareholders in AB Produce, Bridgen could also be liable for £244,000 in rent arrears.
Bridgen, who earns an MP’s salary of £84,144, is understood to have repaid the money he already owes, although the source of this funding is not known and may yet be scrutinised.
Regarding the judgment earlier this year, he said, ‘we live in an imperfect world’ and said his lawyers were ‘exploring all avenues with regard to legal options to obtain a just outcome’.
He added: ‘If courts always got everything correct the first time there would be no need for appeal mechanisms.’
Under Parliamentary rules, any MP who receives a bankruptcy restrictions order must step down. Bridgen could also be referred to the Parliamentary commissioner for standards for failing to declare that AB Produce was paying his rent and energy bills.
The MP’s Code of Conduct states that all ‘taxable expenses, allowances and benefits such as company cars’ should be declared, along with ‘financial support and sponsorship’ and ‘gifts of property’.
Bridgen’s office has been approached for comment by MailOnline.