BORIS Johnson's Government has been accused of "corruption" after protecting former minister Owen Paterson from an immediate suspension while seeking to rewrite the Commons disciplinary process.

Tories were ordered not to back the cross-party Standards Committee's call for Mr Paterson to be suspended from Parliament for 30 sitting days after it found he repeatedly lobbied ministers and officials for two companies paying him more than £100,000 per year.

Dozens of Tories abstained and 13 rebelled after being told to vote instead for an amendment to establish a new, Conservative-led, committee to reconsider both Mr Paterson's case and whether a new standards system is needed.

Despite the reservations of some on the Conservative benches, the move was passed with a majority of 18.

Commons Standards Committee chairman Chris Bryant and Lord Evans, the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, will be at a major event on ethics in Westminster on Thursday.

The Institute for Government is hosting the conference and some of its senior figures have been highly critical of the way the Paterson affair has been handled.

Deputy director Hannah White said it had been a "shameful day for British democracy".

Anti-corruption campaigners, unions and Opposition MPs also condemned the Government's actions, with the Tories being accused of "wallowing in sleaze" by Labour.

Sir Keir Starmer said it was "corruption", adding "there is no other word for it".

The plan to establish the new committee, which will be led by former minister John Whittingdale, was immediately thrown into chaos as Labour, the SNP and Liberal Democrats vowed to boycott it, depriving the panel of any real cross-party authority.

The row was triggered when Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Ms Stone recommended a ban from the Commons of 30 sitting days for Mr Paterson in a report subsequently approved by the Commons Standards Committee.

Ms Stone's investigation found he repeatedly lobbied on behalf of two companies for which he was acting as a paid consultant - Randox and Lynn's Country Foods.

Mr Paterson claimed the investigation was unfairly conducted and argued the manner in which it was carried out had played a "major role" in his wife Rose's suicide last year.

Here's how Hampshire MPs voted on the issue:


Desmond Swayne, Conservative, New Forest West

Steve Brine, Conservative, Winchester

Suella Braverman, Conservative, Fareham

Flick Drummond, Conservative, Meon Valley

Caroline Dinenage, Conservative, Gosport


Alan Whitehead, Labour, Southampton Test


Julian Lewis, Conservative, New Forest East

Caroline Nokes, Conservative, Romsey and Southampton North

Paul Holmes, Conservative, Eastleigh


Royston Smith, Conservative, Southampton