United Kingdom

Boris Johnson's actions ‘contemptible,’ Keir Starmer says

16:18, 07 November 2021
Boris Johnson's actions ‘contemptible,’ Keir Starmer says Photo: Ben Shread/Cabinet Office

Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer slammed UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson accusing him of “corrupt and contemptible” behavior due to Johnson defending a member of the parliament Owen Paterson after the latter was exposed for breaching lobbying policy, Starmer told BBC.

The actions coming from Boris Johnson are deteriorating the British reputation in fulfilling the democracy standards, according to Starmer.

“Instead of upholding standards, he ordered his MPs to protect his mate and rip up the whole system - that is corrupt, it is contemptible and it’s not a one-off,” he said.

The reforms considered by MPs on Wednesday could have shifted away from Paterson's case in which he was involved by conducting lobbying on behalf of two companies. 

Environment Secretary George Eustice has supported the government’s actions saying that politicians need time to appeal against what they were accused of.

Owen Paterson stepped back from this duty as the MP for North Shropshire on November 5. He had been also serving as Northern Ireland Secretary and Secretary of State for Environment. Since the politician left the government he has been a paid consultant for Randox Laboratories and Lynn’s Country Foods. He has been receiving certain wages for his work and it didn’t run contrary to British law, especially since his field of business was written down in the public register of interests.

The accusations towards Paterson consist of him violating lobbying rules as the Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards discovered that Paterson, on behalf of the companies, held meetings with officials at the Food Standards Agency and ministers at the Department for International Development multiple times. He was also found to be using his parliamentary office and stationery for running his business and failing to declare his interests during some meetings, according to the report.

Such contacts with officials and ministers were evaluated as “serious breaches” of the rules.