Sir Bob Neill MP’s defence of the government over the Owen Paterson case is a shameful act that condones corruption and a lack of accountability.
Owen Paterson was found to have committed an “egregious” breach of rules on “paid advocacy”, abusing his office when lobbying on behalf of two companies that paid him over £100,000.
The government not only chose to ignore the conclusions by the Standards Committee in this case, it whipped Tory MPs behind the amendment to upend the whole disciplinary system until Boris Johnson was forced into a U-turn.
Despite his stated commitment to law and justice, Mr Neill chose to be paired with an opposition MP and therefore not vote on the committee’s recommendation in parliament — unlike 13 other Conservative MPs — is a named supporter of the now withdrawn amendment and went on BBC Newsnight on Wednesday to support the Government’s position.
There may be a valid case for reform, but why did the Conservative government choose this moment to make that change, after more than a decade in office? Changing the rules in the middle of an ongoing case is a blatant power play.
This affair is yet another example of the government undermining democratic processes and ignoring the rules when it suits them. Voters in Bromley and Chislehurst deserve elected officials that don’t go along with such action
Mr Neill has himself been found to have breached the MP’s code of conduct in August last year for failing to declare a conflict of interest in relation to a hotel development in Bromley town centre.
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Communications Officer, Bromley and Chislehurst Labour Party