Owen Paterson has vociferously protested his innocence of the breach of Parliamentary standards, found against him by the House of Commons Standards Committee.

In his speech in the debate, Chris Bryant MP, Chair of the Standards Committee, gave a clear description of Paterson accepting money from two commercial businesses, in return for his arranging access to Ministers - an undoubted breach of parliamentary standards.

Now that he intends to resign as an MP, presumably the public will never know the nature of his defence.

Paterson claimed that under the existing system he had no right of appeal. But what exactly do we know of what his defence at any appeal would have been?


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Owen Paterson's defence was already laid out during the investigation. His claims are detailed in this Guardian article. In summary, he claims to have done nothing wrong.

The MP said he was acting as a whistleblower in raising concerns about milk and pork standards and that this meant he could claim an exemption from the rules regarding paid advocacy because he was raising a “serious wrong”.

...investigation against him was biased because the commissioner did not interview 17 witnesses who wanted to defend him

But the major misuse of facilities he denied was hosting meetings in his parliamentary office 16 times between October 2016 and February 2020.

These issues are covered in significant depth in the report from the Standards Committee, which summarises Mr Paterson's position as;

  1. Mr Paterson has acknowledged that he breached the rules of the House in using House of Commons headed notepaper on two occasions for correspondence relating to his business interests, and has apologised to the Commissioner and to us for doing so. We are grateful to him for this.
  2. Mr Paterson maintains that he has not breached the Code in any other respect.
  3. In addition, Mr Paterson has raised a number of serious allegations relating to the process in this case.
  4. We set out in detail below our analysis and conclusions in respect of each of the Commissioner’s findings, then turn to address Mr Paterson’s arguments relating to the process of investigation and adjudication in this case

The report itself is 170+ pages long and as mentioned in paragraph 14 deals with Owen Paterson's arguments and defence in significant detail.

Owen Paterson also took the opportunity to air his claims in his media interviews after Thursday's vote but before Friday's U-turn, this interview was essentially an open mike for Mr Paterson to address the issue without any opposing viewpoint or challenge from the interviewer; see his interview on GBNews.

  • That's a bit rapid on the acceptance. I've only been following the story lightly, so there may well be someone with significantly more insight.
    – Jontia
    Nov 5, 2021 at 8:17
  • If anyone produces anything more apposite, I will effect a transfer - but I doubt it.
    – WS2
    Nov 5, 2021 at 8:48
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    Having said that - I believe that more credence can be placed on the Guardian, where each claim receives a response from the Standards Watchdog, than in the youtube clip with Nigel Farage. In that Patterson presents unsubstantiated facts as irrefutable truth, and assaults the processes of the Commissioner and the parliamentary standards administration. He complains of a lack of a proper hearing, but nowhere in legal processes is a defendant allowed a long rambling speech without challenge. And NF makes no serious attempt to question anything he says - but simply prompts him to continue.
    – WS2
    Nov 5, 2021 at 9:22
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    Frankly while he's explained at length on GBN the 3 interventions on behalf of Randox (the testing company), he said little about the seven interventions on behalf of Lynn's Country Foods. Nov 5, 2021 at 13:17

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