Judge rules against former Tory minister’s request to keep divorce settlement private

Judge ruled that Richard Harrington’s divorce settlement was a matter of public interest


Former Conservative minister Richard Harrington's divorce settlement will be made public after a judge ruled it was a matter of public interest.

Richard Harrington – who was MP for Watford from 2010 to 2019, and served in several junior ministerial roles – had argued that the details of the division of £20 million of assets should remain a secret.

However, following a call for transparency from his former wife Jessie, 61, Judge Anna Hurd, presiding over the Central Family Court in London, claimed that the "findings that that I made about some aspects of [Mr Harrington's] behaviour and shortcomings in his disclosure, I am satisfied that this is a case in which publication of my judgment would be in the public interest."

His wife had argued that "given the way" Mr Harrington had "conducted his interests" the findings were of legitimate public interest.

Mr Harrington, 62, was accused of evasiveness during the court case, over questions about whether the Metropolitan line extension would affect the value of land in which he had an interest.

After being asked about it for a third time, Mr Harrington conceded he would be "likely to benefit".

Following the hearing, Mr Harrington claimed that "all my disclosures to the court were full and frank to the very best of my knowledge."

Mr Harrington – who is Jewish and was raised in Leeds – married Jessie in 1982, and they separated in 2013.

His wife had originally asked for 53 per cent of his assets, though the judge ruled that the split should be half each. Following the publication of the judgement, Mr Harrington said he "believed it right that our assets should be split 50-50.

"This was what I offered at the outset. After two years of considerable and unnecessary expense, this was exactly what the judge ruled."

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