Owen Paterson, the MP for North Shropshire, has been accused by The Guardian of lobbying on behalf of firms from which he also receives a salary.
The Guardian newspaper claims it has seen documents revealing he had several meetings with officials and a minister, and that he also wrote letters asking them to take steps which would benefit healthcare firm Randox Laboratories and Lynn’s Country Foods Limited. Mr Paterson receives a salary of £100k per year for 16 hours a month from Randox, while Lynn’s Country Foods Limited pays him £12,000 per year for 24 hours work in total.
The newspaper also claims that Mr Paterson has twice used House of Commons notepaper to write to ministers in his capacity as a Randox employee, in breach of the rules. Furthermore, it alleges that Mr Paterson was involved in a sustained year-long lobbying campaign on behalf of Lynn’s Country Foods Limited in which the Company sought to persuade the Food Standards Agency to change its labelling requirements.
These allegations follow demands for an inquiry earlier this year into the source of funding for Mr Paterson’s overseas trips after £39,000 of donations were anonymously routed through a company of which he was the only director.
Speaking for North Shropshire Liberal Democrats, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Helen Morgan said:
“If true, these allegations are hugely disappointing and add to the long list of scandals from this Government. The Tories don’t seem to care about ordinary people trying to make ends meet – they are only interested in making money for themselves and their billionaire backers.
“North Shropshire needs an MP that is honest and is working hard, full time, for the constituency, not using their public position to demand £500 an hour from private companies. If elected, I promise to work full time for a bright future for this beautiful part of the countryside.”