UK Politics Live: Government Cannot Be ‘Soft’ In The Face Of Sordid Perceptions, Says Minister | Politics

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The fallout from the Owen Paterson Row continued after Boris Johnson’s U-turn that saw veteran Tory MP Owen Paterson resign from Parliament after Downing Street dropped an offer to shield him from lobbying allegations.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said the government could not be complacent in the face of sordid perceptions.

Asked about LBC’s opinion polls following Owen Paterson’s dispute, Nadhim Zahawi said: “I take it that we cannot be complacent, that it was right to come back to parliament and say that we made a mistake.

“I think actually people, listeners, survey respondents, will understand that it’s only human when you know you made a mistake to come back and say we made a mistake and we are going. correct it.

“And that we want a fairer redress system. They know it because it’s fair in other areas of life and other areas of the economy.

“So I think it’s the right thing to do, and of course the really important poll would be the general election.”

Sir David Lidington, former leader of the House of Commons, said the row with Owen Paterson had damaged politicians’ reputations. “It is clear that there has been a series of pretty appalling errors in judgment,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.

“The reputation of the House of Commons as an institution and of Members of Parliament from all parties will have been tarnished by the events of the past 24 hours.”

The former Tory MP also said the deal had “weakened the government”, making it harder for Boris Johnson to gain support from backbench MPs on potentially unpopular measures going forward.

“If you ask your troops to walk through the hall on something like that and they don’t think it’s fair and you turn around, it will be more difficult next time,” he said.


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