Ashby MP Bridgen is facing a five day House of Commons suspension after being accused of 'rules breach'
By Ashby Nub News Reporter
3rd Nov 2022 | Local News
Coalville MP Andrew Bridgen has been accused of displaying a "cavalier" attitude to lobbying rules - and should be suspended from the House of Commons for five sitting days, a cross-party committee of MPs has recommended.
The BBC website reports that The Standards Committee found the North West Leicestershire MP had breached rules on registration, declaration and paid lobbying "on multiple occasions and in multiple ways".
The whole House of Commons will have to vote on any sanction.
A suspension of two days has been recommended for breaches of two sections of the MPs' Code of Conduct and a further three days for what the committee describes as an "unacceptable attack upon the integrity" of Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone.
Mr Bridgen, 58, has previously denied any wrongdoing.
The MP will not face a potential recall petition from his constituents, as this is only triggered if MPs are suspended for 10 sitting days or more.
The Guardian website says that the committee said that as well as apologising to the Commons, Mr Bridgen should apologise personally to Stone for a "completely unacceptable" attempt to put pressure on her.
The report said Bridgen emailed Stone to ask about what the MP said were rumours that the commissioner would accept a peerage from Boris Johnson, and that this was dependent on her "arriving at the 'right' outcomes" when conducting parliamentary standards investigations.
The Coalville MP was noted as being a critic of Johnson.
Stone's initial investigation found that Mr Bridgen breached rules on registering interests by failing to declare the trip, the donation from Mere Plantations, and a contract to advise the company, a role that the MP said ended up being unpaid.
He also failed to mention these when he approached ministers on behalf of the firm, she added.
Stone said Mr Bridgen had also broken rules on paid advocacy by initiating five approaches to ministers or officials "which sought to confer a benefit on Mere Plantations", and in eight other emails to ministers.
The standards committee endorsed Stone's findings, saying that if Mr Bridgen had no plans to take payments from the company he should have cancelled or amended a contract with them that stated he would be paid £12,000 a year.
The committee's report found that the MP received three "registrable benefits" in all – the contract for an advisory role, a trip to Ghana in August 2019, and a donation of £5,000 to his local Conservative association.
The committee strongly condemned Bridgen for emailing Stone shortly after she referred her findings to the MPs.
Mr Bridgen wrote: "I was distressed to hear on a number of occasions an unsubstantiated rumour that your contract as parliamentary standards commissioner is due to end in the coming months and that there are advanced plans to offer you a peerage, potentially as soon as the prime minister's resignation honours list.
"There is also some suggestion amongst colleagues that those plans are dependent upon arriving at the 'right' outcomes when conducting parliamentary standards investigation."