Politics Explained

Will the fallout from the Paterson affair damage the Tory party?

The government’s inevitable U-turn in the case of the former minister has made it look silly, but the debacle over standards could have longer-term consequences for Johnson and his party, writes Sean O’Grady

Friday 05 November 2021 00:15
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<p>Jacob Rees-Mogg made an eloquent case for the proposed reforms prior to the government’s change of plan </p>

Jacob Rees-Mogg made an eloquent case for the proposed reforms prior to the government’s change of plan

Only a few hours before, the leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, could hardly have been more eloquent in putting the case for reforming the role of the parliamentary standards commissioner, Kathryn Stone – along with that of the standards committee – and for doing so in time to avoid a miscarriage of justice being visited upon Owen Paterson:

“Members must act when we see a situation arise that we do not believe to be compatible with the principles of natural justice. This is about the process and not the individual case, but when considering this report how can one not consider the great sorrow that my right honourable friend, the member for North Shropshire, has suffered? The suicide of his wife is a greater punishment than any House of Commons committee could inflict.

As we all know: The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: it blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

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