Paterson escapes censure as Tory move to let him off passes by narrow margin – with many Labour MPs not voting
Tory MP Owen Paterson has survived a ruling by the Commons Standards Committee after a Tory motion to block the committee’s recommendation to suspend him from the House for thirty ‘sitting days’ succeeded by just eighteen votes after a desperate scramble by the party leadership. The suspension risked triggering a by-election.
Paterson was found unanimously by the committee to have ‘repeatedly’ committed ‘egregious’ breaches of the MPs’ code of conduct when he lobbied on behalf of companies that were paying him a total of £112,000 a year, but now escapes censure after government whips corralled Conservative MPs into supporting the parliamentary dodge.
Twenty-eight Labour MPs did not vote. A number were kept away by confirmed coronavirus and one with an injury and therefore ‘paired’ with Tory MPs not voting.
Inflicting a wounding blow on the Tories was again within reach and again the ‘leader’ of the (non-)opposition let it pass.
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