Peerage For Owen Paterson Would Be 'Grotesque And Offensive'

Nicola Sturgeon condemns speculation over potential seat in the House of Lords.
Owen Paterson this week resigned as the MP for North Shropshire.
Owen Paterson this week resigned as the MP for North Shropshire.
Victoria Jones via PA Wire/PA Images

Downing Street has declined to rule out the possibility that Owen Paterson could be handed a peerage in the wake of his resignation.

The former cabinet minister stepped down on Thursday amid a debacle which saw the government forced to U-turn following an attempt to overhaul the complaints procedure to save Paterson from a 30-day suspension.

He had been found guilty by standards authorities of breaching Commons rules by lobbying officials and ministers for two companies paying him more than £100,000 a year.

On Friday, the prime minister’s official spokesman refused to rule out Paterson being appointed to the House of Lords.

A No 10 spokesman said: “I’ve seen the speculation on that, there’s obviously a formal process for peerages.”

A government source insisted that no discussions about sending Paterson to the Lords have taken place.

The controversial plan was backed by almost 250 Tory MPs ordered to back the move on Wednesday, although there was a sizable rebellion and by Thursday morning the government was forced into an embarrassing U-turn, blaming a lack of cross-party support for the proposals.

Paterson resigned soon afterwards, saying he would “remain a public servant but outside the cruel world of politics”.

Paterson being given a peerage after his resignation from the Commons would be “grotesque and deeply offensive”, Nicola Sturgeon later claimed.

Speaking to journalists at Cop26, Scotland’s First Minister – who called the attempts to save Paterson from suspension “classic corruption” – said: “It would be grotesque and deeply offensive that somebody who had been found to breach standards by an independent process of investigation, who ended up resigning from the Commons albeit through a messy process, ended up being put back into politics through the House of Lords.

“But I say that as someone who is opposed to unelected peers sitting in the House of Lords.”


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