Emily Thornberry says latest Tory scandal would ‘even make Donald Trump blush’

Emily Thornberry says latest Tory scandal would ‘even make Donald Trump blush’

Emily Thornberry has slammed Conservative MPs for voting to change the system for discipling MPs and blocking the suspension of Owen Paterson, labelling it corruption that “would make Donald Trump blush”.

Speaking to the BBC, the shadow minister said the party was “back in sleaze” following yesterday’s vote which overturned a Standards Committee decision to temporarily suspend Paterson for lobbying for business interests and said they had “no shame”.

“His mates didn’t like the fact that [Paterson] was in trouble,” she said.

“They can do whatever they like, they are not accountable to anyone and this is what happens when you have a majority of 80 and you have a government with no shame.”

It comes after the Commons Standards Committee 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 Johnson - 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.

The government also voted to set up a new committee to make changes to the existing standards system. The Labour Party has said they will not participate in it, arguing MPs need external scrutiny. Thornberry added.

“They’re doing it because they’re getting into trouble and they don’t like it and they are protecting themselves. And because they’ve been found out, and because the rules applied against them, they’ve decided to change the rules.

“It is as corrupt as corrupt goes.

“If Donald Trump was able to blush, this would make Donald Trump blush. This is not the way that you behave, honestly.

“It’s just extraordinary that they think that rules don’t apply to them.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the party.

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