Trade minister Conor Burns resigns over ‘intimidation’
Conor Burns resigned as a trade minister within minutes of the report from the House of Commons standards committee recommended a seven-day suspension.
A Downing Street spokesman said: "Conor Burns has resigned as Minister of State for International Trade following a report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
"A replacement will be announced in due course."
The committee’s report concluded Mr Burns breached standards after a complaint that he suggested he would use parliamentary privilege over a debt dispute involving his father.
"The committee's overall conclusion is that Mr Burns used his parliamentary position in an attempt to intimidate a member of the public into doing as Mr Burns wished, in a dispute relating to purely private family interests which had no connection with Mr Burns' parliamentary duties, that he persisted in making veiled threats to use parliamentary privilege to further his family's interests even during the course of the commissioner's investigation, and that he misleadingly implied that his conduct had the support of the House authorities," the committee said.
"The committee considers that Mr Burns' abuse of his privileged status in an attempt to intimidate a member of the public calls for a sanction more severe than apology. It recommends that Mr Burns should be suspended from the service of the House for seven days."
Mr Burns was parliamentary private secretary to Mr Johnson when he served as Foreign Secretary. His resignation comes in the week that US-UK trade talks begin.
In a tweet, Mr Burns said: “With deep regret I have decided to resign as Minister of State for International Trade. Boris Johnson will continue to have my wholehearted support from the backbenches.”
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