Controversial MP Grewal not seeking Tory re-election

Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal, who gained national attention for admitting to making secret tape recordings of top Liberals, has resigned and won't be running in the federal election

Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal, who gained national attention for admitting to making secret tape recordings of top Liberals, won't be running in the federal election.

Conservative party officials said Tuesday the British Columbia MP has decided to bow out instead of causing potential problems for leader Stephen Harper during the campaign for the Jan. 23 vote.

"It has come to my attention that our political opponents intend to use certain unresolved issues to attack not only me, but yourself and our party during the national campaign," Grewal wrote in a letter to Harper.

"While I would not hesitate to fight these issues personally, it would be unfair to have the battle of a single MP become a focal point of the election."

Grewal added that he did not "want to be a source of distraction during the campaign."

Grewal was first elected to the House of Commons in 1997 as the member for Newton-North Delta.

During the past year, Grewal found himself under investigation for various reasons.

In June, federal ethics commissioner Bernard Shapiro cleared Grewal of conflict-of-interest allegations after it was discovered his office had been demanding cash guarantees to help foreigners seeking entry to Canada. Shapiro ruled Grewal had made an honest mistake and never pocketed any of the money.

The RCMP and Transport Canada also cleared Grewal of wrongdoing, saying he broke no security rules when he tried to get Ottawa-bound passengers at the Vancouver airport to carry a package for him.

Earlier in the year, Grewal released recordings of his conversations with Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh, Tim Murphy, the prime minister's chief of staff, and Sudesh Kalia, a Liberal supporter who acted as a go-between for Grewal and Dosanjh.

Grewal alleged that tapes showed he and his wife Nina, also a Conservative MP, would have been rewarded in the future in return for supporting the Liberal government in the no-confidence vote last May.

The Liberals denied the allegations and some analysts said the tapes were altered. The ethics commissioner is investigating. The controversy over the tapes resulted in Grewal taking stress leave.

It was also announced Tuesday that Grewal's wife, who represents the B.C. riding of Fleetwood-Port Kells, is seeking re-election.