Boris Johnson Accused of 'Corruption' for Backing Bid to Block Suspension of Tory MP

© REUTERS / HENRY NICHOLLSBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, November 3, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, November 3, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.11.2021
Subscribe
International
India
Africa
Conservative MP Owen Paterson is accused of violating lobbying rules over his paid consultancy work on behalf of two UK companies. The 65-year-old, who earlier served as secretary of state for Northern Ireland, rejects the accusations.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was accused of "corruption" following Tuesday's vote to protect Tory lawmaker and former minister Owen Paterson from being suspended over alleged violations of the House of Commons' rules on lobbying.
The former secretary of state for Northern Ireland was facing a 30-day suspension from the Commons for "repeatedly" breaching lobbying rules over his paid consultancy work on behalf of the clinical diagnostics company Randox, and Lynn's Country Foods, a meat processor and distributor.

Johnson, who supported the move to block Paterson's suspension, was also accused of a "colossal misjudgment", with some Conservatives claiming the government had created "one rule for us, another rule for everyone else".

Although Labour, the Scottish National Party, and Lib Dems, along with 13 Conservative MPs, voted against protecting Paterson, the move not to suspend the MP for North Shropshire was backed by a majority of 18.
© REUTERS / PETER NICHOLLSFILE PHOTO: Owen Paterson leaves Winfield House during U.S. President Donald Trump's state visit in London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Owen Paterson leaves Winfield House during U.S. President Donald Trump's state visit in London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.11.2021
FILE PHOTO: Owen Paterson leaves Winfield House during U.S. President Donald Trump's state visit in London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo
There were cries of "shame" and "what have you done to this place" in the Commons following the vote.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, for his part, pointed the finger at the government for "wallowing in sleaze".

"I am sick of people skirting around calling this out for what it is: corruption. Paterson was receiving money from a private company to ask questions on its behalf", he wrote in an article for The Guardian.

Starmer argued that the Tories' "plan is to permanently weaken the structures that hold MPs to high standards" and that instead of "trying to sort things out, we [the UK] have a government that wants to stitch things up".
According to the Labour leader, the country has "a prime minister whose name is synonymous with sleaze, dodgy deals, and hypocrisy".
Paterson, in turn, defended his actions in an interview with Sky News, underscoring that he would have "no question" in acting the same way again.

"No, I wouldn't hesitate tomorrow. Absolutely. When we found out about the milk I realised it was absolute dynamite. First of all it was very obvious that lives were at risk, and secondly, if it had been mishandled and had been leaked to keen media agents like you, we could have absolutely blown the UK dairy industry apart", Paterson claimed.

He insisted that he had "absolutely no hesitation whatever in calling a meeting very rapidly", adding, "and if you look at the witness statements, they are grateful that I did do that. As a result of those efforts, British milk is now safer. And we did it without disrupting the dairy industry. So I wouldn't hesitate to do it again tomorrow, absolutely no question".

Parliamentary Probe Into Paterson's Alleged Breach of Lobbying

After a two-year investigation, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone accused Paterson of breaching the rule by making multiple approaches to government departments and ministers for the two companies, from which he has purportedly pocketed some £500,000 ($682,882).
In particular, the probe found that between November 2016 and November 2017, Paterson approached the Food Standards Agency (FSA) three times regarding the company Randox and testing for antibiotics in milk.
Members of the clinical staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment PPE care for a patient with coronavirus in the intensive care unit at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, 5 May 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.04.2021
World
Corruption Red Flags Reported Over UK’s ‘Flawed’ Handling of Lucrative COVID-19 PPE Deals
According to the inquiry, the Tory MP approached the FSA seven times in 2017 and 2018 on behalf of Lynn's Country Foods.
The 65-year-old, who also served as environment secretary, rejects the allegations, arguing that he was raising very serious issues about food contamination and accusing Stone of admitting to him that she "made up her mind" before the allegations were put to Paterson.
Newsfeed
0
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
loader
Chats
Заголовок открываемого материала