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Tory MP Conor Burns suspended from Commons over attempt to 'intimidate' member of public during family dispute

Tory MP Conor Burns suspended from Commons over attempt to 'intimidate' member of public during family dispute

Conor Burns has been handed a seven-day Commons suspension.

2 min read

Conservative MP Conor Burns has been suspended from the House of Commons for seven days after Parliament’s standards watchdog accused him of attempting to use his position to "intimidate" a firm during a family dispute.

MPs on Monday backed a motion to suspend the Bournemouth West member, who quit as a trade minister last week in the wake of a scathing report from the Standards Committee.

The watchdog found Mr Burns had made "veiled threats" against a firm with which his father had a financial dispute.

The then-backbencher was found to have used House of Commons notepaper to make an "implied threat" to reference the firm in the chamber, writing: "My role in the public eye could well attract interest especially if I were to use parliamentary privilege to raise the case."

Moving the motion to suspend Mr Burns for seven days in line with the Committee’s recommendation, Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “It is always regrettable when a motion such as this is before the House and it is not a duty as leader of the House that I take any pleasure in.”

And he added: “I would like to record my thanks to my Right Honourable Friend for his service to Her Majesty’s Government and for the steps he has taken throughout his career to drive and maintain the UK’s interests overseas. 

“I have no doubt that he will continue to add value to this government and to his constituents in Bournemouth West from the backbenches.”

Labour’s Valerie Vaz, who chaired the Standards Committee when the report was drawn up, meanwhile said: “A backbencher at the time of the incident, the Right Honourable Member has accepted that he made a rash and inappropriate action for which he has paid a price in the middle of trade negotiations.”

In a letter to Boris Johnson, published last week as he resigned from the Government, Mr Burns said he accepted the finding of the watchdog “unreservedly and without rancour”.

And he vowed to give Boris Johnson his “full and unqualified support from the backbenches as both a colleague and a friend".

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