Owen Paterson lobbying scandal justifies ‘recall’ laws – The Yorkshire Post says

IT SHOULD, quite rightly, be up to the voters of North Shropshire to now decide if they still have sufficient confidence in former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson after he was censured for flouting rules on lobbying.

File photo dated 22/10/2019 of Owen Paterson, the Parliamentary Committee on Standards has recommended the Conservative MP be suspended for 30 days over an "egregious case of paid advocacy" after investigating his lobbying for two companies
File photo dated 22/10/2019 of Owen Paterson, the Parliamentary Committee on Standards has recommended the Conservative MP be suspended for 30 days over an "egregious case of paid advocacy" after investigating his lobbying for two companies

The ruling that Mr Paterson be suspended from the House of Commons for 30 days is so serious that it now triggers the so-called ‘recall’ rule where a by-election has to be held if at least 10 per cent of his constituents endorse such a move.

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This comes after Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, ruled that the senior MP’s lobbying of officials and quangos on behalf of two companies for which he was acting as a paid consultant – Randox and Lynn’s Country Foods – was “an egregious case of paid advocacy” that brought the Commons “into disrepute” between October 2016 and February 2020.

Aintree chair Rose Paterson - wife of Owen Paterson MP - took her own life in June last year.

Yet, assuming the Commissioner’s findings are endorsed by MPs, it will be for Mr Paterson’s constituents to determine if he has already been punished enough after his wife Rose, the much-respected chair of Aintree Racecourse and Jockey Club member, took her own life in June last year.

This case also explains why The Yorkshire Post continues to press, in the wake of the recent scandal to engulf the now-ex North Yorkshire police, fire and crime commissioner Philip Allott, for the recall laws to be extended to cover all public figures if their conduct, and actions, falls short of the standards expected of them. And it also means that the final arbiters of any misconduct or scandal are ultimately the most important people of all – the electorate.

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Philip Allott resigned as North Yorkshire's police, fire and crime commissioner following remarks made in response to the Sarah Everard murder. However 'recall' laws do not apply to such public figures.