Some background ahead of an important vote in parliament on 3 November: in September 2019, The Guardian published their scoop on MP Owen Paterson’s breaches of parliamentary rules by lobbying for companies that he was paid to advise. To quote:
The documents [detailing meetings and letters] raise questions over whether the North Shropshire MP has broken parliamentary rules that permit MPs to lobby on behalf of a paying client, but with restrictions: the lobbying must not help to give an exclusive financial benefit to the client, and the client must not have initiated the lobbying.
Paterson has also twice used House of Commons stationery to write to ministers on behalf of Randox. According to the rules, House of Commons stationery cannot be used for “business purposes”.The Guardian
The Guardian reported that Paterson earned £112,000 from the two companies on whose behalf he lobbied to secure them financial benefit. Now, two years later, parliament’s sleaze watchdog Katherine Stone (parliamentary commissioner for standards) has found that he did indeed break the rules.
Nick Tolhurst, political commentator, posted this on Friday:
A motion recommending the suspension of Conservative MP, Owen Paterson, will go before the House of Commons on Wednesday, November 3.
The UK government has now accepted the vote is inevitable after very few Tory MPs supported Paterson’s contention that the report was flawed.
The UK government’s final end strategy will now be to convince enough MPs to vote against the suspension despite the obvious record of corruption.
If they don’t and Paterson is suspended for 30 days, a “recall petition” would seem inevitable.
This would likely trigger a by-election.
Should enough Tory MPs vote against the suspension in order to prevent it, they will of course go on record as voting to prevent the absolute mildest of rebukes for clear corruption by a sitting MP.
As such, if you have any interest in having a clean country….it is imperative that people contact their MP – particularly their Conservative MP – to encourage them to do the right thing and suspend this corrupt MP.
Members of the public are already responding by putting pen to paper. Here is a letter to Sheryll Murray, MP for South East Cornwall:
Dear Mrs Murray
I hope the rumours I’m hearing are wrong. If Tory MPs in Parliament reject the Standards Committee finding against Owen Patterson, it will signify that the Conservative Party is content for us to become an endemically corrupt state.
Corruption and democracy, the latter of which you have on more than one occasion told me you champion, are incompatible. Please can I ask you to think very seriously before considering to vote to reject the Standards Committee findings. Such a course of action will mark the turning point away from our once internationally respected parliamentary democracy and the Queen’s Sovereignty over that.
As we approach Remembrance Sunday, it would also be a huge insult to all those people who gave their lives in two world wars to defend our country from autocratic, corrupt and fascistic rule.
Please show me you are not careless, you are not callous, and that you are not corrupt. In short, please show me that you have not forgotten your Cornish heritage.Fleur Young
Please write to your Conservative MP and ask them to do what is right. If Paterson is let off, we are on an even steeper moral decline…
One of our readers sent a version of the letter to their MP. Since we do not have said MP’s permission to publish the response, we’ve anonymised it. We think it’s pretty bad! See what you think!
I have not seen the case, nor the evidence yet ahead of a vote on Wednesday and I shall make that decision based on the facts presented. What are these rumours, and where have you heard them? Indeed if you have facts to support your statements, then please send them before Wednesday.
But I actually find your email quite insulting. You are inferring that I am careless, callous and corrupt. They are at the least rude, but unless you have evidence too the same, I shall not be corresponding with you further on the matter.
Raw nerve or what?