‘They all have to go’ Tory MP calls for parliamentary sleaze inquisitor to quit – ‘Rotten’

Owen Paterson: MPs vote to overturn suspension

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The Tory MP, whose suspension was delayed thanks to an amendment, is now asking Kathryn Stone, the head of the committee which reported on his breach of rules, to go. Ex-Environment Secretary Owen Paterson had been facing a 30-day suspension from the Commons after the independent Standards Committee investigated and reported he committed an “egregious” breach of rules on “paid advocacy.”

The Standards Committee, led by Kathryn Stone, found that Mr Paterson had breached four separate parts of the code of conduct, which caused “significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole.”

On Wednesday, Mr Paterson’s colleagues proposed an amendment to delay a decision on the suspension and form a new committee.

The amendment passed the House of Commons by 250 votes to 232 with 13 Tory MPs voting against and 98 who refrained from voting.

“Sadly they have not done a good job and come up with a rotten report which is full of inaccuracies,” Mr Paterson told The Telegraph on the committee that accused him of wrongdoing.

“As far as I’m concerned, they all have to go.”

A spokesperson for Ms Stone told The Telegraph: “I can confirm that the commissioner’s term is due to finish in December 2022 and that the commissioner will be serving her full term.”

The North Shropshire MP is a paid consultant to Randox, a clinical diagnostics company that pays him £8,333 a month for 16 hours work, and Lynn’s Country Foods, a meat processor and distributor which pays him £2,000 for four hours of work every other month.

With a combined £112,000 a year from these two companies, the MP earns more from his work as a consultant than he does as a member of parliament.

Mr Paterson publicly declared the payments on the MPs’ register of interests and has vehemently denied wrongdoing after the probe, which began in October 2019.

He said the committee led a “torturous and inadequate” investigation of his wife’s suicide.

Rose Paterson took her own life in 2020 at 40 years old.

Paterson has first tried to defend himself by citing paragraph nine of chapter three of the Guide to the Rules, which allows whistleblowers to raise the alarm about “a serious wrong or substantial injustice” even if it would “have the incidental effect” of giving them a financial advantage.

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However, Ms Stone’s Committee concluded he was not a whistleblower.

“What might have been permissible in a single exceptional case became Mr Paterson’s standard practice,” the Committee concluded.

“It stretches credulity to suggest that 14 approaches to Ministers and public officials were all attempts to avert a serious wrong rather than to favour Randox and Lynn’s, however much Mr Paterson may have persuaded himself he is in the right.”

Boris Johnson’s press secretary said the delay will be an opportunity to reform the whole system.

“This isn’t about one individual case and we’re not having a view on the ruling or looking to overturn the ruling.

“It is argued that setting up an appeals mechanism would strengthen the regime, and some members of the Commons have lost confidence in the current system and we need to strengthen that and provide fairness for all Members of Parliament.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer said the whole operation was a way for the Tories to “shut down the HR department” within a party where leaders “exonerate” their “mates.”

“I think we know what we’d call it: sleaze, a cover-up,” he wrote in The Guardian.

Just last month, Conservatives argued that existing rules could not be rewritten to tighten sanctions against Rob Roberts, an MP disciplined for sexual harassment who was reinstated as a member of the party.

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