Ex-PM John Major labels government 'shameful' over Owen Paterson case 4 weeks ago

Ex-PM John Major labels government 'shameful' over Owen Paterson case

He described the government's actions as "un-Conservative."

Former Tory prime minister John Major has criticised Boris Johnson's government for its handling of the Owen Paterson controversy.

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In an interview with the BBC, Major said that the government's actions had trashed Parliament's reputation at home and abroad, and were "un-Conservative."

It's after the government tried to block Tory MP Owen Paterson's 30-day suspension for breaking lobbying rules, before reversing its decision the very next day and apologising.

Paterson then resigned as MP for North Shropshire, saying he wanted a life "outside the cruel world of politics."

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Sir John Major, whose own government was in part brought down in the 1990s by allegations of sleaze and corruption, suggested that Johnson's government was "politically corrupt," adding that there is a "general whiff of 'we are the masters now' about their behaviour."

He continued: "I have been a Conservative all my life. And if I am concerned at how the government is behaving, I suspect lots of other people are as well.

"It seems to me, as a lifelong Conservative, that much of what they are doing is un-Conservative in its behaviour."

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"This government has done a number of things that have concerned me deeply: they have broken the law, the prorogation of Parliament. They have broken treaties, I have in mind the Northern Ireland Protocol. They have broken their word on many occasions."

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Speaking about the allegations of corruption that were so damaging to his own government, Major said there was a key difference in the Paterson case.

"When that happened I set up the Nolan Committee on Standards in Public Life to stop it, which has been a huge success," he said.

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"The striking difference is this: in the 1990s I set up a committee to tackle this sort of behaviour.

"Over the last few days we have seen today's government trying to defend this sort of behaviour."