After Owen Paterson’s suspension was blocked by Tory MPs, the House of Commons’ standards watchdog is in chaos. This raises serious questions about its future. 

Yesterday afternoon, the Commons voted controversially for Tory MPs to review the case of Mr Paterson and to overhaul the current standards system. 

The current system for regulating MPs behavior has been thrown into chaos by the move.  

Opposition parties have pledged boycott to a new Government-backed Committee that is supposed be making recommendations about how to improve the existing process. 

There have been Tory calls to Kathryn Stone (current Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards), to resign.

The chaos means that it is not clear what will happen to eight politicians, including Therese coffey, Cabinet minister, currently under investigation by the Commissioner. 

Three of the MPs who are under investigation – Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly, Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski and Tory MP David Warburton – voted in favour of overhauling the system. 

According to the watchdog’s website Tory MP Ian LiddellGrainger and Labour MPs Chi Onwurah and Jo Stevens are the other MPs under investigation.  

It does not mean that Commons rules were broken just because an investigation is underway. 

Ms. Stone stated that she is not planning to resign but that the long-term future of the current standards system was uncertain. 

The House of Commons' standards watchdog has been plunged into chaos after Tory MPs voted to block the suspension of Owen Paterson and overhaul the system. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Stone, has indicated she has no intention of resigning

The House of Commons standards watchdog has been thrown into chaos by Tory MPs who voted to block Owen Paterson’s suspension from office and to overhaul the system. Kathryn Stone (Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards) has stated that she does not intend to resign.

Therese Coffey

James Cleverly

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is currently investigating eight MPs, including James Cleverly, Foreign Office Minister and Work and Pensions Secretary.

Who are the eight MPs currently under investigation from the standards watchdog

The Parliamentary Commissar for Standards is currently investigating eight MPs. 

They are: 

Therese Coffey, Work and Pensions Secretary

Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly

Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski 

Tory MP David Warburton

Tory MP Ian LiddellGrainger 

Labour MP Chi Onwurah

Labour MP Jo Stevens

Labour MP Barry Gardiner 

Former minister Mr Paterson, the Tory MP for North Shropshire, was found to have committed an ‘egregious’ breach of standards rules by directly advocating for two companies while they were paying him more than £100,000 per year.

Ms Stone carried out an investigation, and the Committee on Standards recommended that Mr Paterson is removed from the Commons within 30 sitting days.

Angrily, Mr Paterson disputed the findings in the standards report and claimed that the investigation was unfairly carried out. 

Yesterday afternoon, MPs were scheduled to vote on suspension. However, Mr Paterson’s allies presented an amendment to stop suspension and have his case reviewed.  

The amendment, which was approved by 250 votes in favor to 232 against, will also create a new commission with a Tory majority that will make recommendations for a shakeup of the current standards process.  

After Boris Johnson instructed Tory MPs that they vote for the amendment because it was opposed by opposition parties, the vote was won. 13 Tory MPs opposed this move. 

Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrats and others have all pledged to boycott this new committee. It is possible that it will be seen as Tories “marking their own homework”.  

There have been Tory calls that Ms Stone should resign and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng suggested this morning that she should “Decide (on) her position”

Sky News interviewed him: “It’s difficult to predict the future of the commissioner, given that we’re reviewing it and trying to reform it all, but it’s up the commissioner to decide her position.”

Mr Kwarteng was asked what he meant by “decide her position”. I mean, anyone can make a judgement and people have sought change that. It’s up for them to decide their position. But I’m not saying she should quit.

Daniel Kawczynski

Barry Gardiner

Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski and Labour MP Barry Gardiner are among the eight MPs currently under investigation.

Labour has accused the government of “Trying to bully” the Standards Commissioner out her job.

Thangam Debbonaire, shadow leader for the Commons, replied to Mr Kwarteng’s comments: “Having already ripped up rules policing MPs’ behavior to protect one of their own, it’s appalling that this corrupt government is now trying to force the Standards Commissioner out her job.

“Boris Johnson must immediately distance itself from these latest attempts at poisoning British politics. All decent people, regardless of political beliefs, must protest these blatant attempts by Tory MPs not to be scrutinized.

Chris Bryant (Labour MP), is the chairman of The Committee on Standards. This committee oversees the Commissioner’s work, and considers her reported reports. He said yesterday that they will continue to meet.