Berwick MP rejects call for independent corruption inquiry

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has dismissed calls for a public inquiry into allegations of political corruption.

Monday, 8th November 2021, 12:39 pm
Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan on BBC Breakfast. Picture: BBC

The International Trade Secretary was interviewed on BBC Breakfast in the wake of fellow Conservative MP Owen Paterson’s resignation for breaking lobbying rules.

MPs will hold an emergency debate on parliamentary standards later today, with the Liberal Democrats calling for an independent public inquiry into allegations of political corruption.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Ms Trevelyan said she ‘disagreed fundamentally’ with any accusation that sleaze is a huge issue in the Conservative Party.

"We, and all our political parties, run on incredibly tight regulations with very clear methods of recording all activity,” she said. “That’s why when there is an issue that needs to be raised it’s very clear and visible to everyone and can be discussed openly. All parties use it and it supports a very clear and transparent system.

"The Leader of the House was clear last week that there was an error made in conflating the specific vote in relation to Owen Paterson’s particular situation and that wider question which has kicked around for a while, which is that MPs of all colours feel the existing standards review system doesn’t have an appeals process in the way that it would if you or I were working in any normal job where in an employment tribunal environment there would be a right of reply.

"That, I think, is the question that will be debated at some length this afternoon in the House. I think all colleagues of all political colours will be keen to see that process so that if one does fall foul of the rules that there is an opportunity for an appeal to be heard.”

Asked if she would support a corruption inquiry, Ms Trevelyan replied: “The standards system that we have looks into individual situations when they come up and those have been dealt with. I don’t consider there is a need for an inquiry into something wider because I don’t think there is a wider problem.”

She also said that while she had received ‘a few emails about the way the debate went last week’, her constituency postbag was filled with other issues such as access to vaccines and housing.

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