Tory MP Owen Paterson resigns instead of facing fresh vote on suspension

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Tory Mp Owen Paterson Resigns Instead Of Facing Fresh Vote On Suspension Tory Mp Owen Paterson Resigns Instead Of Facing Fresh Vote On Suspension
Owen Paterson, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Sam Blewett, David Hughes and Geraldine Scott, PA Political Staff

English Conservative MP Owen Paterson has resigned his seat after being embroiled in a row over lobbying rules.

British prime minister Boris Johnson’s government had come under intense criticism for blocking Mr Paterson’s immediate suspension after he was found to have repeatedly lobbied ministers and officials for two Northern Irish companies who were paying him more than £100,000 (€118,000) per year.

Rather than face a fresh vote on a possible six-week ban, Mr Paterson said he would resign as an MP, triggering a byelection after the high-profile sleaze row.

He said in a statement: “I have today, after consultation with my family and with much sadness, decided to resign as the MP for North Shropshire.

“The last two years have been an indescribable nightmare for my family and me.

“My integrity, which I hold very dear, has been repeatedly and publicly questioned.

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“I maintain that I am totally innocent of what I have been accused of and I acted at all times in the interests of public health and safety.

“I, my family and those closest to me know the same. I am unable to clear my name under the current system.”

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