Tory MP Andrew Bridgen Faces Five-Day Commons Suspension After Breaking Lobbying Rules

The outspoken backbencher displayed a "cavalier" attitude, according to a cross-party committee.
Andrew Bridgen speaks to the media on College Green outside parliament.
Andrew Bridgen speaks to the media on College Green outside parliament.
Beresford Hodge via PA Wire/PA Images

A Tory MP faces a five-day House of Commons suspension after being found to have displayed a “cavalier” attitude to the rules in a series of lobbying breaches.

The standards committee recommended Andrew Bridgen face the punishment for breaking rules on registration, declaration and paid lobbying “on multiple occasions and in multiple ways”.

A report published this morning also accused him of calling standards commissioner Kathryn Stone’s “integrity into question” during her investigation.

“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,” the committee report said.

The North West Leicestershire MP 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.

Bridgen told HuffPost UK: “Whilst I am extremely disappointed with the recommendations of the committee, I accept them and will comply with them as required to do so.”

The committee said Bridgen should have told ministers and officials he received a donation and a funded visit to Ghana from the Cheshire-based firm Mere Plantations and had a £12,000 contract to be an adviser.

But he was found to have committed a “significant litany of errors” by failing to do so in eight emails to ministers, and in five meetings with ministers or public officials.

The committee said Bridgen had also 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”.

He 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 committee said 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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