Welsh Labour MP calls for Jacob Rees-Mogg to resign over handling of lobbying scandal
A Welsh Labour MP has called for Jacob Rees-Mogg to resign as Leader of the House of Commons over the handling of a lobbying scandal.
Chris Bryant, who represents Rhondda, and chairs the Commons Standards Committee, said Mogg’s position had become “untenable” amid a fierce backlash following the botched attempt to save former Tory MP Owen Paterson from disciplinary action.
Paterson, who was found to have broken lobbying rules, has now quit Parliament and stepped back from his consultancy work, for which he was earning £100,000 a year on top of his MP’s salary.
Bryant has argued that Rees-Mogg should quit as Leader of the House because he’d lost the respect of MPs.
He told the i: “I personally think the Leader of the House’s position has become untenable.
“He has created a crisis for Parliament by standing out and talking for 45 minutes in favour of a motion that was the direct, polar opposite of the rule of law. A Conservative MP has also told me that the ‘knobs’ of the party told the ‘oiks’ what to do, and the ‘nobs’ don’t necessarily have the best political antennae.
“And I think Jacob Rees-Mogg wanted to deliver an outcome because of a personal friendship.”
Bryant also said that Kathryn Stone, the independent standards commissioner, been given additional security after Tory MPs made speeches attacking her.
“MPs have been saying that the attacks on MPs and the death threats and all the rest of that has been appalling in recent months, and we need to calm the language down,” he said.
“They need to apply this also to some of the language that has been used around the parliamentary Commissioner because she has been subjected to far more than any individual MP and consequently, [has had to have] all sorts of security,”
Rees-Mogg has announced ministers would seek “cross-party” changes to the system after acknowledging a “certain amount of controversy”.
He added that the “link needs to be broken” between reforms and the case of Mr Paterson.
He said: “It is important that standards in this House are done on a cross-party basis.
“The House voted very clearly yesterday to show that it is worried about the process of handling these complaints and that we would like an appeals system, but the change would need to be on a cross-party basis and that is clearly not the case.
“While there is a very strong feeling on both sides of the House that there is a need for an appeals process, there is equally a strong feeling that this should not be based on a single case or apply retrospectively.
“I fear last night’s debate conflated an individual case with the general concern. This link needs to be broken.