UK Government U-turn over MPs' conduct plan after backlash

The UK Government to rethink plans for policing MPs' behaviour after controversy over Tory MP Owen Paterson

It has been announced that the immediate plans to overhaul the standards system after a Tory MP faced suspension for breaching lobbying rules had been ditched.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said the vote on overhauling the standards system and preventing the immediate suspension of Owen Paterson had “created a certain amount of controversy”.

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He told MPs: “It is important that standards in this House are done on a cross-party basis.

Boris Johnson has U-turned on plans to overhaul the disciplinary process for MPs and review a senior Tory’s alleged breach of lobbying rules after widespread outrage.

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“The House voted very clearly yesterday to show that it is worried about the process of handling these complaints and that we would like an appeals system, but the change would need to be on a cross-party basis and that is clearly not the case.

“While there is a very strong feeling on both sides of the House that there is a need for an appeals process, there is equally a strong feeling that this should not be based on a single case or apply retrospectively.

“I fear last night’s debate conflated an individual case with the general concern. This link needs to be broken.

“Therefore I and others will be looking to work on a cross-party basis to achieve improvements in our system for future cases.

“We will bring forward more detailed proposals once there have been cross-party discussions.”

The decision was met with outrage from opposition parties yesterday.

Lord Evans, the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said plans for a Tory-led review into the disciplinary process for MPs as being “deeply at odds with the best traditions of British democracy”.