Rampant Sleaze at Heart of UK Government

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Tories Rewrite Rules to Protect Their Own

The SNP has condemned “a litany of stitch-ups and sleaze”, after the UK Government moved to overhaul the system governing parliamentarians’ conduct – after a Tory MP was found to have broken rules on paid lobbying.

Whipped Tory MPs backed measures to abolish the cross-party Standards Committee and replace it with a new Tory-led body. They also seek to overturn the proposed 30-day suspension for the Tory MP in question – which could have seen him then face a recall petition and potential by-election. 

Earlier, Westminster’s cross-party Standards Committee accepted findings – from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards – that Owen Paterson MP had “repeatedly” used his position “to promote the companies by whom he was paid.”

Mr Paterson has been a paid consultant for clinical diagnostics company Randox since 2015, and to meat distributer Lynn’s Country Foods since 2016. While MPs are allowed to have such jobs, they are not allowed to be paid advocates – using their influence in Whitehall for companies’ gain.

The Committee concluded in its report that this was an “egregious case of paid advocacy”, and that Paterson had used his “privileged position as a Member of Parliament to secure benefits for two companies for whom he was a paid consultant”.

Backlash to the change voted through by the Tories is growing fast – with all opposition parties having refused to take part in any new standards system the government sets up.  Furthermore, the office of the commissioner who oversees the current process confirmed she would not be resigning.

The chair of the Commons Standards Committee, Labour’s Chris Bryant MP, compared the action to something that would happen in Russia.

– Graeme:

This is another disgraceful episode in the ongoing saga of this corrupt Tory government – and one which lays bare how Westminster is broken beyond repair, rampant with sleaze and cronyism.

The Prime Minister has whipped his party to rewrite the rules and abolish a committee – to be replaced with a Tory-led one – in order to protect one of their own MPs from the findings of the independent watchdog on standards.

Of course it follows other damning lobbying, COVID contracts, tax breaks, Lords appointments, flat renovations and acceptance of donations for luxury holidays, but this is such a flagrant abuse it beggars belief that it was pursued.

This ‘one rule for us’ attitude shows the Tories to be rotten to the core and totally shameless, and the SNP will not be serving on any new kangaroo court they try to introduce in place of the independent process for monitoring MPs’ conduct.