One of David Cameron’s rising stars of the Conservative Party has had her house repossessed over an unsettled debt of £324,000.
Adeela Shafi was hand-picked by the Tory leader to open the 2008 party conference and was selected three years ago to be Parliamentary candidate in the Labour stronghold of Bristol East.
As an Asian Muslim woman, her appointment was greeted with plaudits and she was described as part of a ‘new generation’ of future MPs.
But Mrs Shafi’s suitability for public office was called into question this week when it was revealed she had three county court judgments against her over debts of almost £330,000.
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Adeela Shafi has been hailed as one of the next generation of Tory MPs but her home has been repossessed over £324k debt
Two of the orders, including one believed to have been for outstanding parking fines, have been settled. But the third, for £324,000 owed to her mortgage company Kensington, is listed as ‘unsatisfied’.
Although the house – which was valued at £460,000 last spring – has now been sold for a knockdown price of £250,000 after Kensington foreclosed, Mrs Shafi, 36, is liable for the remaining money.
The mother of four ran into financial problems after setting up a building company to develop the large grounds surrounding the home she shared with husband Ijaz, who was himself declared bankrupt in 2000.
She planned to build eight mews properties on the plot in Severn Beach, near Bristol, and on the back of the scheme’s £500,000 projected profit, the Shafis bought another substantial property in north-west Bristol, where the couple now live.
However, despite being approved by local planners, her development was refused permission after the Environment Agency highlighted a flood risk at the site, on the banks of the River Severn.
Mrs Shafi and her business partner Mark Farmer had already each paid out a five-figure sum on architects fees and other start-up costs.
Last night Mr Farmer, of Acton Turville, Gloucestershire, said if he had known the financial past of Mrs Shafi’s husband – who he met through his van hire business – it might have put him off going into business with her.
But he added: ‘I don’t bear her any ill will. I’ve developed other properties and I know some you win, some you lose.’
The Shafis had been letting out the house at Severn Beach while the planning application was considered. But their financial problems were compounded when the property was badly damaged by a fire.
Their insurance failed to cover all of the rebuild costs, their tenant had to move out and the couple’s mortgage debts mounted, eventually resulting in the foreclosure.
The mortgage company can now either pursue Mrs Shafi for the money or potentially force her into bankruptcy if she does not pay.
Kensington, a specialist sub-prime lender, refused to comment on the case. But a spokesman said: ‘As a matter of process, if a customer were to incur a shortfall following the sale of a property, where possible we would enter into an arrangement to repay the shortfall with the customer.’
Mrs Shafi, a part-time psychology lecturer whose parents came to the UK from Pakistan, has become well-known for her charity work.
In 2005 she helped raise more than £120,000 to help Kashmir after a devastating earthquake, and her husband helped build a school in the area.
The Conservative Party declined to comment about her financial affairs.
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