Chloe Smith – 2021 Apology Over Owen Paterson Vote

The comments made by Chloe Smith, the MP for Norwich North, on 9 November 2021.

I am always prepared to justify my votes in Parliament and to be accountable to constituents for those. That is fundamental in this job. In this case, I recognise I got it wrong.

I voted for the Leadsom amendment to the motion because I believe it contained some sensible points.

It was designed to improve our standards system. I don’t think anyone thinks the current system is perfect, and there are some serious questions which need to be discussed.

For example, under the present disciplinary system, the accused party has no right of appeal and few rights when it comes to presenting witnesses or other supporting evidence.

However, reforms to the process should not be tied to a vote on a single case. Or, indeed, applied retrospectively. MPs should hold themselves to the highest standards in public life and must accept a rule book.

The government recognises this too, and that they made a mistake.