MPs voted 250 to 232 to prevent the 30-day suspension of former Conservative minister Owen Paterson MP.

Downing Street earlier issued a statement suggesting that the Prime Minister is in favour of Conservative MPs voting for the Leadsom amendment to the motion.

During Prime Minister’s Questions prior to the debate, Boris Johnson said it was a matter of “natural justice” that a right to appeal such cases, as Ms Leadsom’s amendment proposes.

A No 10 spokesperson also said this morning: “It is essential that all in parliament uphold the highest standards in public life. There must be tough and robust checks against lobbying for profit. There must be a proper process to scrutinise and – if necessary – discipline those who do not follow the rules.”

Echoing comments of Conservative MPs such as David Davis and Lucy Allan concerning the case, they argued: “As in any normal workplace and all walks of life, people should be entitled to the right to appeal. This is sacrosanct in providing fairness and natural justice, and ensuring there is an opportunity to check due process and that the right procedures were followed. This isn’t about one case but providing members of parliament from all political parties with the right to a fair hearing.”

“Therefore the Commons should seek cross-party agreement on a new appeals process whereby the conclusions of the standards committee and the commissioner can be looked at. This could include judicial and lay member representation on the appeals panel,” they went on.

The motion proposed former minister Owen Paterson’s recommended six-week ban from Parliament.

An amendment tabled yesterday evening by Dame Andrea Leadsom, which the government’s new statement appears to align with, recommends that “the current standards system should give Members of Parliament the same or similar rights as apply to those subject to investigations of alleged misconduct in other workplaces and professions”, which would entail the “right of representation, examination of witness and appeal”.

It suggested that the new committee is made up of four Conservative MPs, three Labour MPs and one SNP MP, however there have been indications opposition MPs could boycott the panel.

Several opposition MPs have suggested the plans could undermine public confidence in politicians.

Under a 2015 law brought in after the expenses scandal, any MP suspended for 10 plus days can face a petition in which constituents can request that a by-election be held.

The support of ten per cent of electors in Paterson’s North Shropshire seat would be required to prompt an election in the constituency. A similar process led to a by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire in 2019 in which the Conservative Party subsequently lost the seat to the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Paterson had a majority of 22,949 in North Shropshire over Labour in the last 2019 General Election.
The constituency has long been one of the Conservative Party’s safest seats in England.