Minister questioned by BBC QT about the’morality’ of the Tories’ anti-sleaze regime U-turn.
After being questioned about how the Conservatives first tried to defend Owen Paterson from suspension on BBC QUESTION TIME, Industry Minister Lee Rowley admitted a “error.”
The audience in Hartlepool, North East England, had a lot of questions on Thursday night about the current situation surrounding MPs who receive money from other professions while in office. Boris Johnson tried to save Owen Paterson from a 30-day penalty for paid lobbying earlier this month.
The Guardian revealed in 2019 that he lobbied on behalf of two corporations for which he received at least £500,000 in consulting fees.
The party whips reportedly told Conservative MPs not to support the standards committee’s recommendation that Mr Paterson be suspended for 30 days.
A planned yes-or-no vote on Mr Paterson’s suspension was obviated by Tory MP Dame Andrea Leadsom’s move to create a new, Tory-led committee to review both Mr Paterson’s case and whether a new standards system is required.
Downing Street urged Tory MPs to support Dame Andrea’s amendment, which the Government won by a vote of 250 to 232.
Criticism erupted from all sides, to the point that No 10 reversed course and declared that Mr Paterson’s 30-day punishment would have to be re-voted on.
While out shopping at a supermarket, the Tory MP learned about the change of plans from reporters and decided to resign.
“Where is the morality in a group of MPs voting for something that I hope they thought was ethically wrong because the whips told them to?” enquired a woman in the audience.
“Of course, it makes you wonder whether some of them were thinking, ‘God, if I go against the Prime Minister, this is my last hope of getting ahead in the party,'” she continued.
“Will I not be a minister or a junior something?”
“Where is morality?” says the narrator.
Without naming Owen Paterson’s lobbying claims or Boris Johnson, Industry Minister Lee Rowley responded that it was “obviously a mistake.”
“The error was to combine a single case with broader questions about whether this approach works or not,” he explained.
“We’re going to try to figure out how we can improve the process, including things like independent rights of appeal that you’d expect in a normal job,” she says.
As a result of new reports, other MPs are now being chastised. “Brinkwire News Summary.”