Shadow Commons Leader calls on PM to consider position over sleaze scandal

7 November 2021, 11:50

By Elizabeth Haigh

The shadow Leader of the House of Commons today called for the PM to consider his position following the Owen Paterson scandal and that the Tories need to rule out a peerage for him.

Speaking to Tom Swarbrick on Swarbrick on Sunday, Thangam Debbonaire said: "What we’ve seen this week is absolute chaos."

She continued: "The whole government needs to review and have a good cold hard look at what they’ve done and said this week, because it’s embarrassing for them, it’s embarrassing for politics.

"They need to clear up the mess they've started."

Her comments come in the wake of the Owen Patterson row, as Conservative MPs voted to prevent his suspension for allegedly breaking parliamentary rules last week before doing a U-turn less than 24 hours later.

She said Boris Johnson had acted "as though he's above the law", adding: "I think this is a Prime Minister that’s got form and I think that every Prime Minister of any party should be considering their position when they’ve been found to do things like this."

The shadow Leader of the Commons said the row was the latest in a "pattern of behaviour" in Boris Johnson's government: "He started out by illegally proroguing Parliament and it’s just gone on and on and on, it’s a real pattern of behaviour from this Prime Minister."

She called on the government to rule out Patterson getting a peerage, adding: That shouldn’t even have been considered and it should be denied really quickly, firmly, forthwith.

Read more: Boris Johnson's poll rating plunges in Owen Paterson sleaze saga

Ms Debbonaire criticised the actions of the Conservatives and blamed Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg for conflating the issue of parliamentary standards with Owen Patterson's case.

"I think Jacob Rees-Mogg should clear up the mess he’s been part of.

"I personally think his position is untenable if he doesn’t, but that’s up to him," she told Tom.

She went on to say that Labour is "a government in waiting" that is "ready" for leadership.

Ms Debbonaire compared the Owen Patterson affair with Labour's reaction to MP Claudia Webbe, who was this week handed a suspended sentence for harassment.

She said if Webbe does not resign, she will support a recall petition in her constituency.

"When we find out that one of our MPs has done something wrong, we deal with it," she said.

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