UK lawmaker faces suspension for breaching lobbying rules

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Owen Paterson

FILE – In this Oct. 22, 2018 file photo, British lawmakers Owen Paterson is seen outside the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels. Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone said Owen Paterson lobbied the government in 2016 and 2017 on behalf of two companies that were paying him — clinical diagnostics company Randox and meat-processing firm Lynn’s Country Foods – and should therefore be suspended. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s parliamentary standards watchdog said Tuesday that a Conservative lawmaker should be suspended from the House of Commons for breaking lobbying rules.

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone said Owen Paterson lobbied the government in 2016 and 2017 on behalf of two companies that were paying him — the clinical diagnostics company Randox and the meat-processing firm Lynn’s Country Foods.

The Commons Standards Committee said Paterson’s actions were an “egregious case of paid advocacy” and had “brought the House into disrepute.” It recommended that he be suspended from the House of Commons for 30 sitting days. Lawmakers will vote on whether to approve the suspension.

Paterson, a former environment minister who has been a member of Parliament since 1997, called the investigation “biased” and said he had not been allowed to present his own evidence. He said anxiety about the probe played a part in the death of his wife Rose, who killed herself in 2020.

“We will never know definitively what drove her to suicide, but the manner in which this investigation was conducted undoubtedly played a major role,” he said.

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