A DISCIPLINARY hearing for an East Lancashire doctor - caught up in a doping controversy - has been postponed.

A government minister and British Cycling have both voiced their frustration after a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing for Dr Richard Freeman was adjourned.

Dr Freeman, who lives in Ribble Valley, has been accused by the General Medical Council of delivering testosterone, a drug banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, to the National Cycling Centre, in May 2011.

But his fitness to practice hearing in Manchester has been delayed, until a date to be fixed.

His barrister, Mary O’Rourke, made two separate preliminary applications, before the proceedings could commence.

And following 20 days of private legal arguments, the matter has now been adjourned.

Dr Freeman resigned from British Cycling in October 2017, while he was facing the prospect of disciplinary action over alleged poor record-keeping, relating to another matter, the so-called ‘jiffy bag’ scandal.

He also failed to appear before the the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee’s inquiry into the same mystery package in December 2016.

Damian Collins, the committee’s chairman, said after the adjournment announcement: “I think this is appalling.

“We should be concerned that there is a concerted effort to make sure that Dr Freeman never has to give evidence, and we should rightly question why that may be the case.”

A General Medical Council spokesman added: “It is frustrating that this case has not yet got underway.

“We remain ready to open our case in public and hope we will be permitted to do so as soon as possible.”

British Cycling, in a statement, it was “extremely frustrated” at the outcome.

Dr Freeman’s legal team said it could not comment as the case was ongoing.

Team Sky, whose riders have won six of the last seven Tours de France, has also declined to comment.

An MPTS spokesman said: “We believe it is in the public interest, and the interest of everybody involved in a case, for hearings to be completed as quickly as possible.

“We will be working with the parties to relist this hearing at the earliest opportunity.”

The outcome of the two private legal submissions, made on behalf of Dr Freeman, have been resolved but the findings will not be made public.

He is also behind a 2018 book, The Line, on the subject of sport and medicine.