Former British Minister quits politics in lobbying controversy


A former British minister resigned from his role as an elected representative on Thursday in the midst of intense political turmoil over whether to suspend him.

2012 Parliamentarian Owen Paterson said he was determined to “remain a civil servant, but outside the cruel political world.”

The Conservative MP has been lobbied by a cross-party standards committee, repeatedly paying more than £ 100,000 a year to two ministers and staff. This act was considered a “terrible” breach of the paid advocacy rules.

However, he denied the findings against him, saying that the investigation process was unfair and that the 17 witnesses who had previously appeared to assist him were ignored.

The conservative government was accused of “corruption” and “reckless behavior” after blocking Mr. Patterson’s 30-day immediate suspension in a vote on Wednesday and at the same time shaking disciplinary action.

On Thursday, following an opposition boycott, he abandoned plans to establish a new Tory majority election committee to consider Patterson’s case and the current standards system.

Downing Street said Prime Minister Boris Johnson “understands that changing the approach is right” and separates Patterson’s proceedings from the current review of the standards system.

A new vote was expected next week to decide whether to suspend Patterson, but North Shropshire lawmakers announced Thursday afternoon that he had decided to resign instead.

“After consulting with my family, I decided to resign as a member of Parliament in North Shropshire today,” Patterson said in a statement announcing his decision.

Patterson said the last two years of his behavioral investigation had been an “indescribable nightmare” for him and his family.

“My integrity, which I value very much, has been repeatedly publicly questioned,” his statement said.

“I claim to be completely innocent of what I was accused of and always acted for public health and security.”

A former MP said he “cannot clear [his] The name on the current system. “

Patterson’s wife Rose committed suicide in June 2020, but the tragedy he said was partly the result of an investigation.

Patterson said the last few days were “unbearable” for the family.

“Worst of all, I saw people, including the MP, openly ridiculing Rose’s death and downplaying our pain,” he said. “My wife’s memory and reputation I didn’t want to be a political football, “he added.

“I’m still a civil servant, but I’m outside the cruel political world,” his statement said.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has asked the prime minister to apologize to the state for what he called “a dirty attempt to cover up his friend’s misdemeanor.”

“This was an incredible 24 hours, even by the chaotic standards of this government,” Starmer said.

“Only yesterday, Boris Johnson forced his legislators to break the rules on the standard of living with a really terrible prosecution of the prime minister and his corrupt government,” he said. rice field.

“Boris Johnson must now apologize nationwide for this dirty attempt to cover up his friend’s misdemeanor. This is not the first time he has done this, but it is the last. Must be. “

Labor leaders said Johnson “must explain how he is trying to fix the immense harm he has done to trust the integrity of him and his legislators.” ..

Lily Chow

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Lily Zhou is a freelance writer who mainly covers the British news of The Epoch Times.

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