By Hallum Cowell
UK international trade minister Conor Burns has resigned today after the Standards Committee found that he had made threats to intervene in a dispute with his father’s loan using Commons-headed paper. Mr Burns is the MP for Bournemouth West and is a close ally of Mr Johnson.
The committee originally advised that he was to be suspended from the Commons for seven days, stating that this abuse of his position required “sanction more than an apology” and that the letter was “driven by a sense of anger which, in our view, has affected his judgement in the matter”.
The incident, dating back to February this year, came about when the former minister wrote to a company which his father had taken a loan from. The letter he sent was written on Commons-headed notepaper.
“I am acutely aware that my role in the public eye could well attract interest especially if I were to use parliamentary privilege to raise the case”. – Conor Burns
However, the incident is unlikely to be taken to court as MPs are protected from deformation by law.
Conor Burns said he wanted to resolve what he described as a “long-running” dispute and has said that it has had a “significant” effect on his father’s health. Mr Burns was first elected in 2010 and was made a trade minister quickly after Johnson entered Number 10.
On Twitter, Mr Burns wrote that he had made his decision with “deep regret” and added that he would continue to give the prime minister his “wholehearted support”.
Mr Burns’s resignation comes in the wake of Another MP, Greg Hands, having been ordered to apologise by the Standards Committee after sending a Commons-headed letter to roughly 7,000 constituents in April of last year. The committee ruled that these letters had broken the rule that MPs should not use Parliamentary stationary for political gain.