Tories Lose 5-point Lead in Poll Amid Owen Paterson Debacle

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The UK’s Conservative Party was lone 1 constituent up of the Labour Party successful the latest voting volition canvass connected Thursday, narrowing the spread by 5 points compared to the erstwhile week.

It comes as North Shropshire faces a by-election aft its Conservative MP Owen Paterson announced his resignation connected Thursday pursuing accusations of breaching lobbying rules.

In the latest YouGov Poll published connected Thursday, 36 percent of the respondents said connected Wednesday and Thursday that they would ballot for the Conservative Party if determination was a wide predetermination connected the adjacent day, 3 points down from the fig successful the erstwhile week.

Meanwhile, Labour stood astatine 35 points—almost closing the gap—after gaining 2 points.

The Johnson government has been accused of “corruption” and “wallowing successful sleaze” aft it whipped done a ballot connected Wednesday to artifact a 30-day suspension of Paterson—who was recovered by the cross-party Standards Committee to person repeatedly lobbied ministers and officials for 2 companies paying him much than £100,000 ($134,600) per twelvemonth but has ever maintained helium was innocent—by shaking up the disciplinary process.

The authorities was forced to wantonness the program connected Thursday aft absorption parties refused to enactment successful the proposed new Tory-led committee to reappraisal Paterson’s lawsuit and the existent standards system. Ministers acknowledged that a mistake had been made by conflating the 2 issues, but are inactive near dealing with the fallout of the decision.

North Shropshire has been a harmless Conservative seat, with Paterson—who served arsenic MP for the English constituency for 24 years—holding 62.7 percent of the ballot successful 2019.

While the thought of backing an autarkic “anti-sleaze” campaigner was floated, the Labour Party said it volition basal its ain campaigner to contention successful the by-election, which day has not been set.

Nadhim Zahawi Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi arrives for a determination furniture gathering astatine the Rolls Royce mill successful Bristol, England, connected Oct. 15, 2021. (Steve Parsons/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

On Friday, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi defended Prime Minister Boris Johnson, denying that the Paterson lawsuit called into question the judgement of the premier minister.

“I deliberation really it says that the premier minister, erstwhile wanting to beryllium pursuing a process that makes the strategy fairer … wanted to bash that,” Zahawi told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme.

“And precise rapidly realising that really that’s 1 happening that we should prosecute connected a cross-party ground and we’ll travel guardant with proposals, and I hope, we tin benignant of acceptable our authorities speech and make a fairer system, due to the fact that [the] close of appeal, I think, is important, and your listeners volition spot that arsenic important,” helium said.

The Education Secretary besides called for compassion for Paterson, whose woman Rose took her ain beingness past year—a calamity Paterson said was partially the effect of the probe against him.

The Ministers person been arguing that MPs should person the close to entreaty aft they are ruled to person breached parliamentary rules by modular watchdogs, portion Paterson denied the accusations against him and said helium can’t wide his sanction “under the existent system.”

But Labour person Sir Keir Starmer has argued that the assertion is “completely wrong” and that Paterson had been “through the appeal” by putting successful his points successful penning and making his lawsuit successful person.

The House of Commons is acceptable to clasp an exigency statement connected Monday connected the consequences of this week’s events.

After Paterson announced his resignation connected Thursday, Johnson said helium was “very sad” but understood Paterson’s determination to “put his household first.”

Calling Paterson his “friend and workfellow … for decades,” Johnson said Paterson had “a distinguished career” and has been “a dependable for freedom.”

Johnson besides backed Chief Whip Mark Spencer, whom immoderate Conservative MPs blamed for whipping the ballot connected Wednesday.

Committee connected Standards Report

Paterson was found to person breached lobbying rules aft approaching authorities departments and ministers connected behalf of clinical diagnostics company Randox and nutrient manufacture Lynn’s Country Foods.

Epoch Times Photo Undated photograph of British Conservative MP Owen Paterson. (Stefan Roussea/PA)

According to the report by the Committee connected Standards, Paterson approached the Food Standards Agency (FSA) aft helium had been made aware of concerns astir the level of antibiotics successful samples of supermarket beverage analysed by Randox and subsequently promoted “Randox’s superior technology” which allowed the detection of the “illegal products [that] person not been detected by the existent investigating authorities successful retail milk.”

While Paterson argued that helium tried to secure accreditation for Randox’s caller exertion arsenic “it would beryllium a payment to British consumers successful the dairy manufacture to person a much modern technology,” but the committee recovered Paterson “went beyond providing grounds of a superior wrong” and the accreditation would yet benefit Randox arsenic well.

Paterson besides approached the FSA with Lynn’s Country Foods astir concerns that a planetary nutrient shaper was acting successful breach of EU instrumentality by mislabelling a product.

Paterson argued that helium was “approaching the FSA with a superior wrong,” but the committee said that careless of Paterson’s “own subjective motivations,” helium breached the rules arsenic the solution of the occupation “would lone incidentally payment Lynn’s.”

Lily Zhou

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Lily Zhou is simply a freelance writer mostly covering UK quality for The Epoch Times.

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