The SNP has condemned the litany of “Tory stitch-ups and sleaze” after the Tory government shamefully rewrote the rules in order to protect a Tory MP who was found to have broken the rules on paid lobbying.
It comes after Tory MPs backed measures to abolish the cross-party Standards Committee and replace it with a new Tory-led body, and also seek to overturn the proposed suspension for the MP.
Earlier, the Westminster’s Standards Committee accepted findings from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards that Owen Paterson MP had “repeatedly” used his position “to promote the companies by whom he was paid.”
The cross-party Standards Committee also concluded in its report that it was an “egregious case of paid advocacy” and that Paterson used his “privileged position as a Member of Parliament to secure benefits for two companies for whom he was a paid consultant…”
Commenting, SNP MP Pete Wishart (pictured) said:
“This entire shameful episode is yet another example of Tory stitch-ups and sleaze at the heart of this corrupt Tory government.
“Rather than upholding the rules and findings from an independent watchdog on standards, Boris Johnson’s government has rewritten the rules and abolished a committee entirely for his party’s self-interest.
“It is one rule for the Tory elite and another for the rest of us.
“The Tories want to overthrow the verdict of the independent committee and to have the matter determined by a committee with a Conservative chair and a Conservative majority.
“That’s natural justice Conservative-style.
“The SNP will not serve on any kangaroo court designed and determined by the Tory party in order to do away with an independent process for looking at the breach of the rules.
“From lobbying for firms, lucrative Covid contracts for friends and party donors, cash for curtains, texts for tax breaks, stuffing the House of Lords with cronies, or luxury holidays paid for by mystery donors – the Tories are rotten to the core, out of control, and will get rid of all scrutiny in order to protect their own interests.
“Westminster is broken beyond repair.
“It’s beyond any doubt that the only way to escape the rampant Tory cronyism and sleaze is by becoming an independent country.”