Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond has now said she thinks disgraced Tory MP Owen Paterson DID break House of Commons rules – despite voting last week to block action to suspend him.
She also says she now wishes she hadn’t voted to block action against Paterson, who was found to have misused his position to lobby for a company that was paying him.
The government and the Tory MPs that supported it faced fury last week for blocking Paterson’s suspension from Parliament. Hours later the government backtracked and u-turned. Paterson, who had reportedly been paid £100,000 a year on top of his MP’s salary by one of the companies he lobbied for, subsequently resigned.
Mrs Drummond says the government should get credit for changing its mind.
Writing on her website, Mrs Drummond said: “What a week. On Monday, I spent several hours reading the 3rd report of the Standards Committee regarding Owen Paterson including, all the appendices and told my whip that I would be voting for it or at best abstaining.
“I also told the Chief Whip that I thought that Owen Patterson had violated the rules. I was not the only one. On Tuesday, talking to others I heard that there is no right of appeal and that those going through the system are not allowed to tell anyone.
“That is not acceptable so when the Andrea Leadsom amendment was put forward on Wednesday I decided, on balance, to vote for it as it did not exonerate Owen but just delayed the verdict until February.
“Subsequently, I found out on Thursday that the Standards committee has already launched an inquiry into the process. In hindsight, I wish I had known this before the vote because it would have changed the way I voted. It is fair to say I am very unhappy about how this has been handled and lessons need to be learned.
“The Government gets credit for quickly changing its mind in the face of real public concern and I think Owen Paterson’s resignation was the right thing to do considering the circumstances. The disciplinary system for MPs does need reform but it was a mistake to bring Owen Paterson’s case into it.”