The government is to push forward on plans to shake up the rules on MPs using their privileged position to benefit the companies that pay them lucrative amounts for small amounts of part-time work.
The bipartisan MPs Watchdog found Conservative MP Owen Paterson broke the rules governing MPs’ conduct by using his position to benefit firms he worked for with “an egregious case of paid advocacy”, resulting in the possibility of a suspension from his role as an MP.
However, now that a Tory MP has actually been found guilty of using his position as an MP to benefit people that gave him money, the Tories are suddenly very keen indeed to review the rules and to ensure Paterson is not suspended.
A spokesperson from Conservative Party HQ told us, “The MPs Watchdog is there to monitor the behaviour of MPs, and to ensure they are not abusing their position. But we didn’t want them to actually do anything.
“It’s just important we are free to say that we are being monitored by a Watchdog, without the actual ‘suffering the consequences of our actions’ part.
“Christ, if we set a precedent where Tory MPs can be suspended for using their positions of power to benefit companies that pay them vast amounts of money for non-exec roles and part-time consulting roles, then the government benches could be empty by Christmas.
“It’s much more important that when one of our MPs is found guilty of having broken the rules, that we look at those rules and change them until the behaviour of our MP is once again considered acceptable.”
Upon news of the review, the Tories extended their lead in the polls by five points.