Owen Paterson has said he “wouldn’t hesitate” to act in the same manner “tomorrow” after he was heavily criticised by a standards body for breaching lobbying rules.
Speaking to Sky News, the former minister said he would “absolutely” do the same thing again after he was reprimanded by the Committee on Standards.
He also admitted that he continues to work with the two firms he was found to have lobbied on behalf of.
Yesterday Tory MPs voted by 250 to 232, a majority of 18, to approve an amendment to consider reforming the House of Commons standards system and prevent the immediate suspension of their colleague.
Mr Paterson was facing a 30-day suspension from the House of Commons for “repeatedly” breaching lobbying rules over his paid consultancy work on behalf of Randox, a clinical diagnostics company, and Lynn’s Country Foods, a meat processor and distributor.
Dozens of Tories abstained and 13 rebelled after being told to vote instead for an amendment to establish a new, Conservative-led, committee to reconsider both Mr Paterson’s case and whether a new standards system is needed.
Despite the reservations of some on the Conservative benches, the move was passed with a majority of 18.
There were cries of “shame” and “what have you done to this place” as the result was announced.
Labour hit out at the move, with deputy leader Angela Rayner accusing the Tories of voting to “give a green light to corruption” and bringing “shame on our democracy”.
“Labour will not be taking any part in this sham process or any corrupt committee,” she said, with the Liberal Democrats and SNP also confirming they will boycott the committee being set up to look at the standards regime.
Now that the amendment has been passed, a nine-person committee with a Conservative majority and led by Tory ex-cabinet minister John Whittingdale will review the current standards system and reconsider the case against Mr Paterson.
Responding to Mr Paterson’s interview with Sky News, Labour’s Jess Phillips said: “This is what happens when we allow people to get away this stuff. He’s literally going to carry on. Tories openly saying after the vote that they know he’s guilty. Some people matter and some people don’t.”