Paterson became the MP for North Shropshire in 1997Richard Townshend/Wikimedia Commons

Cambridge alumnus Owen Paterson has resigned as a Conservative MP after breaking lobbying rules.

Paterson studied History at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, before becoming the MP for North Shropshire in 1997.

The former Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, Paterson’s resignation came after Downing Street reversed its decision to support Tory MP’s block on his suspension.

The original decision pushed for the party to re-evaluate its standards watchdog, which sparked outrage amongst Labour and some Tory MPs, with accusations fired at the party and Boris Johnson of a sleazy undermining of standards, and corruption.


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The Commons Standards Committee came to a decision last week that Paterson had “misused” his position as an MP to the advantage of two firms he worked for. The findings were put together in a report by standards commissioner Kathryn Stone.

The report recommended a 30-day suspension from the Commons, which could’ve also led to a constituency recall petition as well as a by-election. Though such recommendations are rarely disputed, MPs were given the opportunity to vote to amend the systems in place to prevent Paterson’s suspension.

Paterson said in a statement that he wanted a life “outside the cruel world of politics”, with accusations of corruption “an indescribable nightmare for my family and me”.

The MP maintains that he is “totally innocent” of breaking lobbying rules.

Labour leader Keir Starmer urged the prime minister to apologise for his “grubby attempt to cover up for the misdemeanour of his friend”.