MP facing rap over inquiry that he says contributed to wife's death

Ex-minister facing rap in sleaze probe: Owen Paterson faces criticism by fellow MPs following anti-sleaze inquiry that he says contributed to wife’s suicide

  • Former Tory minister Owen Paterson is accused of breaking parliamentary rules
  • The allegations relate to a £100,000-a-year ‘consultancy’ job for Randox Health
  • He claims the investigation ‘played a huge part’ in the death of his wife last year 
  • Rose Paterson, 63, was found dead in woodlands near their Shropshire home

Former Tory Cabinet minister Owen Paterson faces criticism by fellow MPs today following an anti-sleaze inquiry which he says contributed to his wife’s suicide.

The parliamentary standards committee, which rules on misconduct claims against MPs, is expected to find fault with him over his £100,000-a-year ‘consultancy’ job for Randox Health.

Former environment secretary Mr Paterson was accused of ‘bringing the Commons into disrepute’ by allegedly breaking parliamentary rules which say an MP cannot act as a ‘paid advocate’ for a company.

He strongly denies the charge – and as revealed by the Daily Mail last week, claims he has ‘no doubt’ the ‘cruel’ investigation ‘played a huge part’ in the death of his wife Rose last year. 

Owen Paterson is facing criticism from fellow MPs following an anti-sleaze inquiry which he claims contributed to his wife’s suicide

Rose Paterson (left), was found dead in woodlands close to her family home in Shropshire in June last year

A coroner recorded a verdict of suicide after she was found dead in woodlands near their Shropshire home in June 2020.

Mrs Paterson, 63, the daughter of Viscount Ridley, was chairman of Aintree Racecourse, where Randox sponsors the Grand National. 

Today’s ruling will be made by the Commons standards committee, which can punish MPs – from demanding an apology to suspension. It follows a two-year investigation. 

In secret evidence to parliamentary standards commissioner Kathryn Stone last month, Mr Paterson said his wife killed herself as she feared they would be destroyed by ‘erroneous’ claims about his links to Randox. 

Shortly before Mrs Paterson died, media reports highlighted her and her husband’s association with Randox and her links to Baroness Dido Harding, who ran the Covid test and trace system. 

Mr Paterson poses at the Grand National Day 2021. His wife, the daughter of Viscount Ridley, was chairman of Aintree Racecourse where Randox sponsors the Grand National

Mr Paterson (right) with Randox MD Dr Peter FitzGerald. The MP is accused of misconduct in connection with his £100,000-a-year ‘consultancy’ job for Randox Health

Reports referred to how Randox had won a £133million Covid testing contract but that was not part of the inquiry and no suggestion of wrongdoing was ever made against Mrs Paterson.

In his emotional statement, obtained by the Mail, the North Shropshire MP said he had ‘no inkling’ his wife planned to take her life. 

Mr Paterson said his wife believed the inquiry would force her to resign as head of Aintree due to their connection with Randox boss Dr Peter FitzGerald.

He said: ‘If I am found guilty without due process, my political enemies will crow that my wife was a proper person and killed herself when she was told I had broken the rules when I have not done so.’

He added: ‘My family and I are in no doubt that the way this investigation has been conducted played a massive role in creating the extreme anxiety which led to her suicide.’

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