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Former Tory MP Owen Paterson says ‘unfair’ lobbying inquiry breached his human rights

Former Conservative MP Owen Paterson says the lobbying inquiry that sparked the government scandal that resulted in his resignation violated his human rights.

The Brexiteer made a formal complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which on Tuesday formally asked the UK government to respond to his allegations.

Mr Paterson complained to the Strasbourg Court that his rights under Art. 8 of the UK Human Rights Act regarding respect for his private and family life had been breached.

The official notice said the former MP stated that the finding that he had breached the code of conduct “damaged his good reputation” and that “the trial that investigated and decided the charges against him was not fair in many fundamental respects.”

If the case, believed to be the first complaint by a British MP to the ECtHR, is taken up and the court finds that Mr Paterson’s rights have been breached, the UK will have to enforce its judgment and remedy any unlawful conduct – potentially by waiving the original examination standards and launching a new trial .

Mr Paterson resigned as MP for North Shropshire in November 2021 after Commons authorities found him lobbying the government on behalf of two companies paying him more than £100,000 a year.

The Standards Committee recommended a 30-day suspension after discovering a series of conduct breaches, but the scandal deepened when then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson set about reviewing the misconduct system.

The government made a 180-degree turn after widespread public outcry, and Mr Paterson subsequently resigned while continuing to deny wrongdoing.

Mr Paterson – a staunch Brexiteer who was a member of a tough European Tory research group – has previously called for the ECHR’s “freeing Britain from the order”.

In a 2014 speech, he said Brexit would allow the repeal of the Human Rights Act and allow the UK to “free itself” from the Strasbourg court that oversees the ECHR and human rights laws.

“A lot of the problematic immigration to this country comes not just from the EU, but from the European Convention on Human Rights,” Paterson said.

He added: “The situation is aggravated by the rulings of the judges at the Strasbourg court and our own UK courts implementing the Human Rights Act.”

The European Court of Human Rights has also asked the UK government to respond to a separate complaint filed by an unnamed life peer who left the Lords following an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct.

The complainant complained that the standard report “had devastating consequences for his private and family life” and claimed that the process of investigating possible violations of the Code of Conduct “failed to ensure due respect for the interests protected under Article 2 of the Convention”. 8″.

The partner also claimed that he had no opportunity to question his accuser, claiming that their “credibility was questioned”.

Both complaints are in the “communication stage” of the European court and the judges have not yet declared them admissible for consideration.

Strasbourg, which operates outside the EU’s remit, will decide whether to proceed with matters after receiving information from the UK government.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has hinted that he does not support the idea of ​​withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights.

He told MPs on the Justice Committee that the Good Friday Agreement was based on a commitment to the convention, adding that it was “not entirely clear what the advantages would be.”

But Mr Raab has promised to push through a Bill of Rights – aimed at reviewing the Human Rights Act – saying he is confident the legislation will receive “strong support” from MPs at its second reading in the coming weeks.


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