Yesterday (03.11.2021) Mark Menzies voted against the cross-party Standards Committee’s call for MP Owen Paterson to be suspended from Parliament for 30 sitting days. MP Menzies voted for an amendment to rejig the standards system and so halt Mr Paterson’s case.
Mr Paterson was found in a damning report on his behaviour from the Commons Standards Committee, led by Commissioner Kathryn Stone, to have misused his position as an MP to benefit two firms he worked for, receiving payments of over £110,00 a year on top of his MPs salary in this consultancy role.
MP Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, suggested this morning that instead of Patterson being suspended the Commissioner for Standards should resign. However, later Boris Johnson then performed a U-turn to allow another vote on the former minister’s suspension. This is thought to be because of the barrage of emails in protest sent to Tory’s MPs.
Rather than face a potential six-week suspension, Mr Paterson has announced he resigning as MP for North Shropshire, triggering a by-election.
In a statement tonight (Thursday 4th November), Boris Johnson said: ‘I am very sad that Parliament will lose the services of Owen Paterson who has been a friend and colleague of mine for decades. 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.”