A Brexit-supporting former MP is taking the UK government to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over a parliamentary verdict that he broke lobbying rules, court documents showed on Tuesday.
Former Conservative MP Owen Paterson is claiming that his right to privacy under the European Convention of Human Rights was breached by the investigation into his conduct.
Paterson, who quit as a lawmaker in November last year triggering a by-election that his party lost, has previously called for the UK to ditch the convention.
“The applicant complains that his Article 8 rights were infringed, as the public finding that he had breached the (MPs’) Code of Conduct damaged his good reputation,” the court said.
He also considered that “the process by which the allegations against him were investigated and considered was not fair in many basic respects”.
Paterson was at the centre of a scandal that also engulfed then-prime minister Boris Johnson.
A standards watchdog recommended Paterson should be suspended from parliament for 30 days for an “egregious” breach of rules on paid advocacy.
He was alleged to have lobbied ministers for two firms that had him on their payroll.
Johnson, battling to save Paterson’s career, then had to backtrack from attempts to unilaterally overhaul the disciplinary process in the face of a public outcry.
It was just one of a series of “sleaze” scandals that triggered Johnson’s downfall, forcing him to announce his resignation in July after three years in office.
Paterson claimed at the time that the parliamentary investigation was “biased” and “not fair” and had been a contributory factor in his wife taking her own life.
The European court has asked the UK government to respond. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesman told reporters that the government “will respond in the normal way”.
The court has also asked UK authorities for a response to a second complaint related to a parliamentary investigation into Labour lawmaker Nazir Ahmed.
The former member of the House of Lords was jailed in February for a serious sexual assault against a boy and the attempted rape of a young girl in the 1970s.
He is bringing a claim for infringement under article eight (right to respect for family and private life) and article 14 (discrimination).