David Warburton had a conflict of interest in the Paterson/corruption vote – letter to the editor

Dear Editor, 

MPs’ payments, hospitality and gifts from outside interests are under the spotlight. The Government has U-turned on their shocking plan to overturn the parliamentary standards process to help their friend Owen Paterson avoid suspension as an MP for 30 days, after he was found by the parliamentary standards committee to have broken the rules of conduct with ‘an egregious [extremely bad] case of paid advocacy’, repeatedly lobbying government ministers and officials for two companies who were paying him £100,000 a year as a consultant.

I am very concerned that our MP for Somerton & Frome David Warburton was one of several Conservative MPs [22, to be precise; Ed] who voted for the Leadsom Amendment to overturn the findings of the parliamentary standards commissioner, at the same time as having allegations that he ‘may have broken the Rules of Conduct’ on the registration of gifts, benefits and hospitality, under investigation by the same commissioner. This is a clear conflict of interest and he should have abstained – any MP under investigation for breaking parliamentary rules should be barred from voting on those rules. [NB: he is UNDER INVESTIGATION and must be presumed innocent until and unless proven otherwise.]

There also needs to be an independent public inquiry into government sleaze and allegations of political corruption, including the awarding of lucrative Covid contracts to people with links to the Conservative Party, how Boris Johnson’s holidays abroad and the redecoration of his Downing Street flat were paid for, and the new ‘cash for Tory peerages’ scandal, as well as last week’s attempt to block the suspension of an MP who broke lobbying rules. There must be an end to the sleaze and corruption of our politics.

Adam Boyden
Mendip District Councillor for Frome College ward (Liberal Democrat)