Conservative MP Owen Paterson Resigns Following Scandal

Following a scandal of sleaze allegations, British legislator Owen Paterson is quitting Parliament, which has created a huge uproar.

It was discovered that Paterson has broken paid lobbying rules, despite his claims of being “totally innocent” of any of these charges against him by the House of Commons standards committee. Paterson claims that the stress caused by this investigation contributed to his wife’s Rose, death by suicide last year.

Last month watchdog announced that Paterson had committed an “egregious case of paid advocacy” by using his position to promote two companies that paid him up to almost three times his annual salary as a Conservative MP in Parliament. For this reason, he has been suspending from the House of Commons for 30 days.

Conservative Parliament members, including leader, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, voted against Paterson’s suspension in a controversial move. It’s the first time in many years that a decision made by the standards committee has been challenged by legislators. They requested that a new committee be set up to review the Common’s disciplinary process. This has angered opposition parties.

Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards stated that Paterson had lobbied twice on behalf of Randox a diagnostics company, and Lynn’s Country Foods which, process meat, both of whom were paying him large sums of money.

Despite these facts, Paterson insisted that he had “acted at all times in the interests of public health and safety. I am unable to clear my name under the current system,” he said as he handing in his resignation, adding that is was a “painful decision … but the right one”.

A by-election will be triggered by Paterson’s resignation in North Shropshire which is a Conservative stronghold.

Sir John Major has said the government’s handling of the Owen Paterson’ scandal as “shameful and wrong”.

The leader of the opposition Labor Party Sir Keir Starmer, described Paterson’s decision for resignation as, “an unbelievable 24 hours even by this government’s chaotic standards”. On Twitter Stramer said, “only yesterday Boris Johnson was forcing his MPs to rip up the rules on standards in public life. It’s a truly damning indictment of this Prime Minister and the corrupt government he leads”.

Paterson’s resignation means a complete end to this political career, a vote is no longer needed. Paterson said, “the last two years have been an indescribable nightmare for my family and me. My integrity, which I hold very dear, has been repeatedly and publicly questioned”. Paterson said that his own children had asked him to leave politics, after the mocking of his wife’s suicide by people, shockingly including other MPs.

Boris Johnson gave a statement in which he said that we was sad that Paterson was leaving, saying, “he has had a distinguished career, serving in two cabinet positions, and above all he has been a voice for freedom – for free markets and free trade and free societies – and he was an early and powerful champion of Brexit. I know that this must have been a very difficult decision but I can understand why – after the tragic circumstances in which he lost his beloved wife Rose – he has decided to put his family first.”

Paterson said he would now seek a life “outside the cruel world of politics”.

Faizah Haider

Faizah Haider, MSc, is King’s College, University of London graduate and
is an emerging author. She covers daily news from the UK and across the world. Her work appeared in many news websites.