Conservative MP found to have broken rules 36 times by official watchdog

The Committee on Standards has concluded that Conservative MP Owen Patterson broke Parliamentary rules when he used his position as an MP to benefit to firms that were paying him as a consultant.

The report details 14 occasions where his behaviour was problematic:

Mr Paterson has been a paid consultant to Randox, a clinical diagnostics company, since August 2015, and a paid consultant to Lynn’s Country Foods, a processor and distributor of meat products including ‘nitrite-free’ products, since December 2016.

The Commissioner found that Mr Paterson had breached the rule prohibiting paid advocacy, set out in paragraph 11 of the 2015 MP’s Code of Conduct, in making three approaches to the Food Standards Agency relating to Randox and the testing of antibiotics in milk in November 2016 and November 2017; in making seven approaches to the Food Standards Agency relating to Lynn’s Country Foods in November 2017, January 2018 and July 2018; and in making four approaches to Ministers at the Department for International Development relating to Randox and blood testing technology in October 2016 and January 2017.

He was also found to have broken transparency rules on four occasions:

The Commissioner also found that Mr Paterson had breached paragraph 13 of the 2015 MP’s Code of Conduct, on declarations of interest, by failing to declare his interest as a paid consultant to Lynn’s Country Foods in four emails to officials at the Food Standards Agency on 16 November 2016, 15 November 2017, 8 January 2018 and 17 January 2018.

On top of that, 18 other examples of the rules not being followed were also identified:

Mr Paterson breached paragraph 15 of the 2015 MP’s Code of Conduct, on use of parliamentary facilities, by using his parliamentary office on 25 occasions for business meetings with his clients between October 2016 and February 2020; and in sending two letters, on 13 October 2016 and 16 January 2017, relating to his business interests, on House of Commons headed notepaper. Following further evidence from Mr Paterson, the Committee accepted that the number of meetings in question was 16, not 25 – though the Committee questioned why Mr Paterson could not have made this further evidence available to the Commissioner during her investigation.

Given that number of breaches, no wonder the report concluded that, despite mitigating factors about his own health and the death of his wife:

The Committee found that Mr Paterson’s actions were an egregious case of paid advocacy, that he repeatedly used his privileged position to benefit two companies for whom he was a paid consultant, and that this has brought the House into disrepute.

In line with previous cases of a similar severity, the Committee recommends that Mr Paterson be suspended from the service of the House for 30 sitting days.

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3 responses to “Conservative MP found to have broken rules 36 times by official watchdog”

  1. Annoying that this will be drowned out by the budget. But it must not be forgotten (might be of use at next election kicking him out with a bit of luck).

  2. How about this to keep politicians honest. We double their pay, keep their office allowance the same, give them free mail, e-mail and travel to their constituencies and in return set the following rules:-
    No paid consultancies, including journalism, of any kind.
    No family member to be paid from their office allowance.
    Office salaries to be paid from public funds directly to the employee.
    Lobbying of any kind to be limited to companies and people living in their
    They can employ members of their own family but that family member must be paid out of the MP’s salary.

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