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Tuesday 26 October 2021

Sarah Vine’s Paterson Defence

After Tory MP David Amess was killed, the appalling Sarah “Vain” Vine used the platform given her by the Daily Mail to play the victim in no style at all. “I used to think politics was a big adventure. Now there are days I stand in the shower, numb and fearful” she told readers not yet asleep. Maybe she should figure out the temperature controls.

But, unfortunately, there was more. “Friends of mine will tell you that I am generally quite a level-headed person. Good in a crisis, calm in a storm, lamps lit and all that. Solid and down-to-earth, not generally given to fits of the vapours. But it's been a tough few months, personally, and I am not perhaps at my most resilient”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes?

Yesterday, as I sat down at my desk with my customary Tuesday morning cup of tea and piles of newspapers to write these words, I found myself suddenly and unexpectedly overwhelmed by grief”. Don’t look in the mirror, then. “I couldn't. All I could think about was poor Sir David, and the faces of his widow and daughters as they surveyed the tributes to him outside the church where he was stabbed to death”. And it wasn’t just David Amess.

Owen Paterson MP

This week MP Owen Paterson, whose lovely wife, Rose, killed herself in June last year, said that she was driven to commit suicide because of the strain brought about by an inquiry she feared would destroy them both … he was being investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards over his role as a consultant for a company called Randox Health. She was, he says, distraught, believing he would end up having to resign as an MP … she believed she would lose her role as head of Aintree”.

No-one should trivialise the fact that Paterson’s wife took her own life, and I do not. The problem is Ms Vine’s painting the picture of an MP wronged sits uneasily with not only the results of that inquiry, but also the timing of her column - just before they were announced.

As the BBC has reported, “Ex-minister Owen Paterson could be suspended from the Commons for 30 days after an MPs' watchdog found he had ‘repeatedly’ used his position as an MP to benefit two companies who paid him as a consultant. The watchdog described his actions as ‘an egregious case of paid advocacy’”. The Mirror had a little more.

An excoriating Standards Committee report found Owen Paterson repeatedly used his position as an MP to promote two companies that paid him. He has vehemently denied wrongdoing and sought to implicate the probe over his wife’s tragic suicide … The former Environment Secretary breached four separate parts of the MPs’ code of conduct and brought the House of Commons ‘into disrepute’”.

Also, the report concluded “No previous case of paid advocacy has seen so many breaches or such a clear pattern of confusion between the private and public interest”. Small wonder Ian Fraser asked “North Shropshire Tory MP Owen Paterson is paid £500 per hour as consultant to Northern Ireland-based Randox Laboratories. Last month, the government handed Randox a £133m Covid-19 testing contact, without seeking rival bids. Just a coincidence?” Adam Bienkov, now of Byline Times, summed up.

Taken nearly 3 times his MPs’ salary for ‘paid advocacy’ for the companies - Broken official lobbying rules - Attempted to smear the commissioner investigating him”. Anyone might conclude that Sarah Vine has been indulging in a crude preemptive strike.

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Anonymous said...

Where's the problem?

We all know far right double-chinned fat tories like Vine only have pity for themselves. Always the victim, never the cause.

So far so "normal".

grim northerner said...

Yet, Vine shows no concern for the spouses/family of the thousands of disabled suicide victims who took their lives after being plunged into destitution after being found 'fit for work', funny that.

Anonymous said...

Time for MPs - just like sports folk - to wear the badges of their sponsors at all relevant public appearances _including HoC!

Anonymous said...

He’s a fucking disgrace … and fat old lard turd Queen is an even bigger fucking disgrace even

Anonymous said...

@GN … they brought it upon themselves by ‘acquiring’ disabilities

Mr Larrington said...

Keith Burge on Twitter:

“An act in four parts:
1 Rose Paterson becomes Chair of Aintree Racecourse
2 Randox spends millions sponsoring the Grand National
3 Randox hires former Tory Minister Owen Paterson as a £500 an hour consultant
4 Randox is given a £133m government contract.”

Anonymous said...

Be interesting to see Paterson's invoices/time sheets for details of what he actually did for £500 er hour.

Or would that be stopped by rigged laws of "commercial confidentiality"?.....aka censoring truth.

AndyC said...

And I bet Paterson feels he is the victim, and has done nothing wrong.

AndyC said...

Paterson IS claiming to be the victim and is seeking a judicial review of the Standards Committee's decision and has got considerable support from within the rest of the abysmal Tory parliamentary party.

Anonymous said...

Just another day for whining whingeing self-pitying thieving environment-poisoning tories.

It's what Britain voted for. Government and media by slobs and goons.

Mr Larrington said...

@AndyC: according to an alleged friend of the Chief Badger-Botherer, Paterson is going to fight the decision as “all he has left is his seat and his reputation”. Since his reputation went down the shitter a decade or more ago that just leaves him his seat and, er, enormous piles of filthy lucre which I doubt he’ll have to give back. And Tories wonder why they get called “scum”.

secret squirrel said...

The worst thing about this excuse is the way he's bringing his wife's suicide into it.

It's not that he was a bad boy and broke the rules – it was that he might get caught for doing so. As if he is an entirely innocent party in this matter.

So much for personal responsibility.