Patrick Christys: Owen Paterson MP incident looks sleazy

Patrick Christys: Owen Paterson MP incident looks sleazy
Patrick 2nd mono 4 Nov
Patrick Christys

By Patrick Christys

Published: 04/11/2021

- 12:06

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 11:47

Patrick Christys weighs in on vote preventing the immediate suspension of Owen Paterson MP

Sleaze and scandal at the heart of power. That’s the accusation being levelled against the government today due to the ongoing ruckus over the Owen Paterson MP incident.

Mr Paterson, who staunchly denies any wrongdoing, was found to have breached lobbying rules during his £110,000 a year private sector work.

This was for clinical diagnostics company Randox and meat processor and distributor Lynn’s Country Foods. He was found to have breached rules on lobbying on behalf of Randox by making three approaches to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) about the testing of antibiotics in milk in 2016 and 2017.

Mr Paterson denies the allegations, saying he was raising very serious issues about food contamination. Yesterday Boris Johnson scored a bit of an own goal, like defender Richard Dunne in his prime, after Tory MPs passed a motion in favour of ignoring the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone's recommendations.

They also supported the creation of a new Conservative-majority committee to look into a complete overhaul of parliament's standards rules and to reconsider Mr Paterson's case.

So it looks like they might be marking their own homework. In fact, three of those Tory MPs set to vote in favour of a rethink of the current standards rules are currently under investigation by Ms Stone themselves.

The amendment passed by just 18 votes, with 98 Tories either abstaining or having permission to miss the vote – which shows that even the Tories think this is a bit rum.

It looks grubby, it looks sleazy, it looks like it’s one rule for them and one rule for everyone else. It looks like Boris is just trying to protect his mate and at a time when trust in politicians is at a low ebb – it could do a lot to damage the reputation of the House of Commons even further.

Let’s be honest, it’s not the first time we’ve had the integrity of the house of commons called into question – those duck pond houses won’t pay for themselves, in fact it turned out we had to pay for them on behalf of Peter Viggers MP.

Anthony Steen spent £87,729 in four years towards the upkeep of his £1 million mansion. Jaqui Smith’s husband spent £10 for watching two porn films and then sent us the bill. And then there’s the apparent epic jobs for the boys scandal that is the government’s covid contracts.

One in five government Covid contracts awarded between February and November 2020 contained one or more red flags for possible corruption and require urgent further investigation There was a VIP lane for very well connected people who wanted to line their pockets during the pandemic.

Transparency International UK identified 73 Covid-related contracts with multiple factors that would ordinarily be treated as red flags for possible corruption, such as the company being politically connected.

It claimed twenty-seven PPE or testing contracts worth £2.1billion were awarded to firms with connections to the Conservative party.The disconnect between our politicians and the public is absolutely massive.

They told us to live under draconian rules and then flouted them themselves, what a lovely maskless BBQ that was at the G7. Then we’ve got SNP MP Margret Ferrier’s international covid carrying tour.

They’re implementing policies that will see us paying tax through the nose, while their salaries rise every year and, as discussed, they have a very generous expenses package.

I wonder, maybe it’s time to drain the swamp.

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