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Owen Paterson: UK Conservative MP faces suspension for breaching lobbying rules

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By AP
Owen Paterson is seen outside the European Commission's headquarters in Brussels in 2018.
Owen Paterson is seen outside the European Commission's headquarters in Brussels in 2018.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File

A UK Conservative MP is facing suspension after being accused of breaking strict lobbying regulations.

Britain’s parliamentary standards watchdog said that Owen Paterson had illegally lobbied the Tory government on behalf of two companies that were paying him.

The allegations date back to 2016 and 2017 and involve the clinical diagnostics company Randox and the meat-processing firm Lynn’s Country Foods.

Paterson had failed to declare his interest in the companies on several occasions, the authority said.

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone stated on Tuesday that Paterson should be suspended from the House of Commons.

The Commons Standards Committee said the MP's actions were an "egregious case of paid advocacy" and had "brought the House into disrepute".

The Committee recommended that Paterson be suspended from parliament for 30 sitting days. UK MPs will vote on whether to approve the suspension.

Paterson, a former environment minister, has been a member of Parliament since 1997.

He has called the investigation “biased” and claimed he had not been allowed to present his own evidence.

"I am quite clear that I acted properly, honestly and within the rules,” he said in a statement.

Paterson also said that anxiety about the investigation 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.