AN OXFORDSHIRE MP has received abuse for supporting a change of rules that would help prevent a Conservative MP being suspended from the Commons.

Ministers might back an attempt by Tory MPs to stop their colleague, Owen Paterson, being suspended from the House of Commons after he was found to have committed a breach of lobbying rules.

The Commons will vote on whether to approve a six-week ban from Parliament for the North Shropshire MP after an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards found he repeatedly lobbied ministers and officials for two companies paying him more than £100,000 per year.

But Conservative MPs outraged by the decision are attempting to block the suspension recommended by the Commons Standards Committee.

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone’s investigation found that Mr Paterson repeatedly lobbied on behalf of two companies for which he was acting as a paid consultant – Randox and Lynn’s Country Foods.

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Mr Paterson has angrily disputed her findings, claiming the investigation was unfairly conducted, and argued that the manner in which the investigation was carried out had “undoubtedly” played a “major role” in the decision of his wife Rose to take her own life last year.

John Howell MP for Henley said he will be supporting the amendment to the motion on Owen Paterson, however, he has received abuse.

Mr Howell said: "I have already had emails, some of a quite disgusting nature, accusing me of being equally corrupt as those that have signed the amendment to the motion. It is for the House of Commons to decide on these issues not an individual committee."

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He added: "The motion about Owen Paterson from the Standards Committee asks, amongst other things, for him to be suspended for 30 days. I make no comment at all on whether I believe that Owen Paterson is guilty of any wrong-doing. But I have happily signed the amendment which has been laid before the House and which asks that MPs are given the same legal rights as those subject to investigation throughout the country. It also asks that a Select Committee be created to make recommendations. I feel very strongly that due process has not been followed in this investigation. "

Mr Howell said he signed the amendment without any pressure from the Whips and because he is "outraged" at the process of the investigation.

He said: "Individual rights have been taken away from MPs. The amendment has been signed not by the usual suspects but by a good range of MPs from across the Conservative Party of all sorts of political opinions."

Shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire said: “The Tories want to jettison the system that has served us well and which has been a vital part of rebuilding public trust after the dark days of Tory sleaze this Government seems determined to return to”.

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