Thursday, November 04, 2021

Naked corruption in the UK

A government politician is found to have engaged in corrupt behaviour and faces removal from parliament. But rather than punish them, the government shuts down the investigation process and places the investigator under review. Italy? Russia? No, Britain:

The Conservative MP Owen Paterson has escaped suspension from the Commons for 30 days, and a possible byelection, after the government intervened at the last minute to pause the process and review the watchdog that investigates wrongdoing in parliament.

The former cabinet minister was found to have committed an “egregious” breach of lobbying rules during meetings and conversations with the Food Standards Agency and the Department for International Development while he was being paid more than £100,000 by two firms – Randox and Lynn’s Country Foods.

However, an amendment to the motion to suspend him – proposed by the former Commons leader Andrea Leadsom – was backed by Boris Johnson, and whips told Tory MPs they should vote for it too.


The amendment means a new committee will be created, chaired by the Tory backbencher John Whittingdale, to look into changing the process under which MPs are investigated so that it is more considerate of “natural justice” by, for example, giving them the chance to appeal.

Its hard to see this as anything other than Westminster's culture of corruption - which had been put on hold after the parliamentary expenses scandal - reasserting itself, in a particularly vile fashion. And it speaks volumes that a quarter of the MPs voting to replace the Committee on Standards had been punished by it, which to outside eyes looks like a conflict of interest and naked revenge. And its another sign that Westminster is incapable of reforming itself and needs to be bulldozed into the Thames.