Letter: 'Shame on you, Lucy Frazer for voting for corruption'
- Credit: PA
Dear Mrs Frazer
Today, you and your Tory colleagues, led by your leader Boris Johnson, voted to rip up the rules covering the Commons Standards Committee.
This enabled your colleague Owen Paterson to avoid a 30-day suspension recommended by the committee for an egregious breach of Commons lobbying rules by accepting £10,000 a month to act as a paid advocate to Parliament for private companies without declaring his interests.
As a QC, you will know the Bar Council has ultimate authority over disciplinary matters.
When barristers are alleged to have broken the disciplinary code, these matters are rigorously investigated.
The accused individual has the opportunity to defend themselves.
If that investigation concludes that the barrister in question has broken the code of conduct, then he or she knows that the Bar Council will consider the conclusions and issue a verdict including a suitable punishment (up to and including being struck off).
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Mr Paterson went through a three step process. You and your fellow Tories did not like the unanimous verdict of a cross-party committee of MPs.
Therefore, you have voted to rip up the rules. A spurious argument was made that Mr Paterson has no right of appeal (as he would if he were a barrister on the wrong end of a disciplinary verdict from the Bar Council).
But Mr Paterson had the opportunity to overturn both the initial findings of the independent commissioner and, today, those of the Standards Committee by arguing his case to the House.
Only a couple of weeks ago your party argued that you could not change the rules retrospectively to get rid of Tory MP Rob Roberts after he was suspended for sexually harassing staff in the Commons.
Now, it appears that you believe it is possible to change the rules retrospectively when it suits you to prevent Mr Paterson from being suspended.
I note that Mr Paterson is not alone. Apparently six other Tory MPs with recommendations of suspensions from the Standards Committee hanging over them for breaches of the rules voted today to rip those rules up!
There is only one word for this. Corruption. Thirteen of your Tory colleagues had the moral compass to recognise this was fundamentally wrong.
Why didn’t you? Is this really what you wanted to go into politics to achieve? Shame on you.
Dr Tim Andrews