Minister resigns after being found guilty of breaching parliamentary privilege

PUBLISHED: 11:56 04 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:11 04 May 2020

Conor Burns resigned as international trade minister after being found in breach of his parliamentary privilege by the Commons standards committee.

Conor Burns resigned as international trade minister after being found in breach of his parliamentary privilege by the Commons standards committee.

Archant

A minister has resigned after being found in breach of his parliamentary privilege, which he used to resolve a debt dispute.

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Conor Burns, an international trade minister, stepped down following a Commons standards committee report calling for his suspension.

The committee recommended the MP for Bournemouth West be suspended for seven days after it found him guilty of using his status to threatened a member of the public over a debt dispute involving his father.

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The committee wrote found his culpable of “an attempt to intimidate a member of the public into doing as Mr Burns wished, in a dispute relating to purely private family interests which had no connection with Mr Burns’ parliamentary duties, that he persisted in making veiled threats to use parliamentary privilege to further his family’s interests even during the course of the commissioner’s investigation, and that he misleadingly implied that his conduct had the support of the House authorities.”

The Bournemouth West MP had allegedly attempted to secure a payment to his father by suggesting he may use parliamentary privilege to raise the case in the Commons unless he secured the payment to his father.

A Downing Street spokesman confirmed the resignation, saying “a replacement will be announced in due course.”

Burns has since tweeted: “With deep regret I have decided to resign as Minister of State for International Trade. @BorisJohnson will continue to have my wholehearted support from the backbenches.”

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