Tory MP Andrew Bridgen faces five-day suspension from Commons over 'cavalier' attitude to rules

3 November 2022, 10:29

Andrew Bridgen faces a five-day suspension
Andrew Bridgen faces a five-day suspension. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen faces a five-day suspension from the House of Commons after being found to have displayed a "cavalier" attitude to the rules in a series of lobbying breaches.

The Standards Committee advised a suspension of five sitting days for breaching rules on registration, declaration and paid lobbying "on multiple occasions and in multiple ways".

"Mr Bridgen has demonstrated a very cavalier attitude to the House's rules on registration and declaration of interests, including repeatedly saying that he did not check his own entry in the register," a report said.

He was recommended for suspension for two days for breaches of two sections of the MPs' Code of Conduct and a further three sitting days for an "unacceptable attack upon the integrity" of the standards commissioner.

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The Standards Committee said Mr Bridgen had called Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone's "integrity into question" on the basis of "wholly unsubstantiated and false allegations, and attempted improperly to influence the House's standards processes".

Mr Bridgen questioned whether his reputation as an outspoken critic of then prime minister Boris Johnson could have influenced her findings.

The MP wrote an email to Ms Stone saying: "I was distressed to hear on a number of occasions an unsubstantiated rumour that your contract as Parliamentary Standards Commissioner is due to end in the coming months and that there are advanced plans to offer you a peerage, potentially as soon as the Prime Minister's resignation honours list.

"There is also some suggestion amongst colleagues that those plans are dependent upon arriving at the 'right' outcomes when conducting parliamentary standards investigations.

"Clearly my own travails with Number 10 and the former PM have been well documented and obviously a small part of me is naturally concerned to hear such rumours.

"More importantly however you are rightfully renowned for your integrity and decency and no doubt such rumours are only designed to harm your reputation."

The Standards Committee said Mr Bridgen's email "appears to be an attempt to place wholly inappropriate pressure on the commissioner" which is "completely unacceptable behaviour".

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