Tory MP defends Conservative actions amid ‘sleaze’ controversy
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The veteran politician was seen to shout “object” from the party’s benches as the motion was moved on Monday evening, a move that meant it could not be approved by Parliament. Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans then said it is now “up to the Government to re-programme that particular motion”. The motion had aimed to rescind the so-called Leadsom amendment, which had pushed to launch a review of the MPs standards investigation process and push back the suspension hanging over Owen Paterson for breaking lobbying rules.
It had also tried to endorse the report which would have suspended the former Tory MP from Parliament for 30 days if he had remained in his ministerial position.
But the latest developments have sparked a furious reaction from BBC political editor Ms Kunessberg, who tweeted on Tuesday morning: “Late night farce which means sleaze will be debated again in Commons today, before again being discussed tomorrow when Labour’s pushed for a vote.”
Several Tories have also erupted in fury at the issue being prolonged, with many launching scathing attacks against Mr Chope.
One minister told The Guardian on Monday night: “He has been for many year a Jurassic embarrassment – tonight he crossed a line.
“The man should retire and the executive are livid.
“If he comes into the team room tomorrow, colleagues would want to say two words to him and the second word would be ‘off’.”
A former minister added: “The fact we can’t deselect these people is baffling”, while another called Mr Chope “a selfish tw*t”.
Chris Bryant, the Labour MP who chairs the Standards Committee that recommended the suspension for Mr Paterson, warned the Commons would “fall into further disrepute” if it does not accelerate the motion “as soon as possible with proper time allocated”.
An hour-long debate is being scheduled in the Commons for Tuesday, according to Mr Bryant.
SNP Commons leader Pete Wishart said attempts over a quick resolution to the matter on Monday evening had ended in “misery and failure”.
He told the PA news agency: “That all went badly wrong when Christopher Chope piped up to object.”
Mr Wishart added: “They are all in absolute utter chaos – their best intentions to have it kept from debate in the House has gone.”
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Similar to Ms Kuenssberg, Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain described the situation as a “total farce”.
She said: “First, the Government scheduled this motion so there would be no chance for debate. Now, the motion hasn’t passed.
“It’s insulting that, after two weeks of this scandal, the Government couldn’t even perform their sleaze U-turn successfully.
“This tells you all you need to know about the state of the Conservative Party.
“It’s vital that the Government brings this back before MPs as soon as possible.
“Every day that goes by without this being repealed, the more embarrassing this whole affair becomes. We must move forward.”
Labour’s shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire said: “Two weeks ago the Prime Minister forced Tory MPs to tear up the rules on standards just to protect one of their own. Now they can’t even clear up their own mess.
“Tonight’s farce is of the Tories’ own making and serves Boris Johnson right for trying to sneak a U-turn out at night rather than do the decent thing and come to the House to apologise for the Tory sleaze scandal.
“At the moment, it doesn’t look like the Tories could organise a drinks party in a brewery. The Prime Minister needs to get a grip.”
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