Boris Johnson is grilled on the handling of Owen Paterson saga
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The Labour peer tweeted that a “single anti-corruption” candidate should stand against the Tories in the seat formerly occupied by Owen Paterson. Mr Paterson – the disgraced former Government minister – resigned earlier this month after it emerged that he was paid £110,000 to use his position to lobby.
It sparked a public outcry and led to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer branding Boris Johnson’s behaviour “corrupt and contemptible”.
Mr Johnson later rebuffed this but as the fallout continues to snowball – it has led to wider calls for MPs to be banned from having often lucrative second jobs.
The ensuing by-election in Mr Pateron’s North Shropshire constituency will be keenly observed.
Now Lord Adonis is suggesting that all the opposition parties should unify behind a cross-party candidate.
He tweeted: “There should be a single anti-corruption candidate standing to replace Owen Paterson in North Shropshire, supported by Labour, the Lib Dems & the Greens.
“Time to get real about politics and forge a progressive alliance.”
The idea had been mooted but was quickly dismissed after Labour and the Lib Dems failed to agree on a candidate.
This development may have been lost on the former New Labour man or maybe he believed his rallying cry would spur the parties to reconsider it.
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Either way – people from all sides of the political spectrum quickly rubbished the chance of it happening.
Mike Barrett wrote: “I agree it’s not going to happen, as the so-called progressives hate each other more than the Tories.
“But your solution won’t work as many people who would back an anti-corruption candidate, would never, in a million years, back a candidate standing under the Labour banner.”
Anti-Tory user Sam Deasy said: “It’s not going to happen though, so we can only pray for a Chesham and Amersham situation (where a huge swing to the Lib Dems won them the seat).”
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Tim Ashby wrote: “That’s not going to happen.
“So the Lib Dems and Greens should get behind the Labour candidate and assist him to overturn the sizeable majority that Paterson had.”
Meanwhile, The Nerve – which appeared to support the idea – wrote: “Not going to happen though. Unfortunately.”
The rural constituency has been held by Mr Paterson since 1997 and in normal times is considered ultra-safe for the Tories.
At the 2019 General Election he won 63 percent of the vote, beating Labour by nearly 23,000 votes.
However with the Tories mired in a sleaze scandal that stonking majority could dwindle.
It could replicate what happened in June’s Chesham and Amersham by-election when the Lib Dems overturned a Tory majority of more than 15,000 amid anger over the Government’s proposals to change the planning laws.
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