Tory MP who lost job over Owen Paterson vote quietly rehired as government U-turns on sleaze rule changes

Tory MP who lost job over Owen Paterson vote quietly rehired as government U-turns on sleaze rule changes

A Tory MP who lost her job as a parliamentary aide after abstaining on the controversial Owen Paterson vote yesterday has said she has been rehired some 15 hours later as the government launches its hasty retreat.

Angela Richardson was let go from her positions as parliamentary private secretary for education ministers and for communities secretary Michael Gove, after she abstained from a vote to change rules to stop Paterson – who was found to have broken lobbying rules by a watchdog – from being temporarily suspended from parliament, and to set up a new committee to make changes to the existing standards system.

The vote happened after the Commons Standards Committee had recommended a 30-day suspension for Paterson, after an investigation by independent standards commissioner Kathryn Stone found he lobbied government ministers and regulators on behalf of two private companies which paid him more than £100,000 a year, on 14 occasions.

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Paterson – backed by Boris Johnson and Andrea Leadsom – claimed he had not been given a fair hearing because his witnesses had only been given the opportunity to submit written, not oral evidence. The MP also said he was acting as a whistleblower in raising concerns about milk and pork standards, saying this meant he could claim an exemption from paid advocacy rules.

But after a substantial backlash, the Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg confirmed in parliament on Thursday morning that the planned reforms were going to be scrapped in favour of cross-party talks, stating that it had caused “a certain amount of controversy” and wished to “break the link” with the Paterson case.

He added that “it is important that standards in this House are down on a cross-party basis” and that the government will now work with Labour and other parties to discuss the reforms further.”

Now, posting on Twitter, it seems Richardson has been quietly rehired as part of the government’s Great Unravelling.

Responding, people found the microcosm of the bigger picture pretty amusing:

Angela Rayner joked that the Tories were guilty of doing “fire and rehire” – a practice the Labour Party has campaigned against in which employers fire employees, make changes to their contracts, then rehire them:

What a pickle.

Indy100 has contacted Richardson to comment on this story.

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