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  1. National

Yeo claims follow Patrick Mercer resignation

Patrick Mercer resigned from his party over lobbying claims. Credit: PA

The allegations against Tim Yeo come just a week after another Conservative MP, the backbencher Patrick Mercer (pictured), was forced to resign the party whip after being caught up in a another set of lobbying claims.

As a result of those claims, the Speaker, John Bercow, reportedly suspended more than 80 House of Commons passes and the government promised to bring forward a bill to introduce a statutory register of political lobbyists.

  1. National

MP accused of tabling questions for fake lobbying firm

Patrick Mercer MP filmed by BBC Panorama Credit: BBC Panorama/The Telegraph

Conservative MP Patrick Mercer has been accused of breaking parliamentary rules by offering to provide a Commons pass for lobbyists and tabling parliamentary questions in return for money.

Secret filming by BBC Panorama and The Telegraph appears to show Mercer agreeing to table parliamentary questions after being paid by a fake lobbying firm. The questions were drafted by undercover reporters purporting to be lobbyists for businesses with interests in Fiji, the Telegraph alleges.

Mr Mercer is also captured on camera agreeing to approve a parliamentary pass for a "representative" for the fake firm. He said:

"I do not charge a great deal of money for these things. I would normally come out at £500 per half day, so £1,000 a day."

Parliamentary rules ban MPs from undertaking "paid advocacy" on behalf of paying clients. Mr Mercer said he is taking legal advice on the allegations.


  1. National

Mercer 'to remain in Commons as Independent MP'

Tory MP Patrick Mercer will remain in the Commons as an Independent MP, despite resigning the party whip over allegations that he broke Parliamentary rules.

In light of the allegations being made against him, Patrick has decided to resign the whip from the Conservative Party while a proper investigation is undertaken.

Until such time as the investigation is concluded, Patrick will be an Independent Member of Parliament and not subject to the rules of the local party.

Patrick has always been a dedicated, hard-working and popular local MP and we will be saddened if these allegations are proven.

Until such time as there has been a full and proper investigation, in line with British justice, we shall neither pre-judge nor pre-empt the outcome.

– Stuart Wallace, chairman of the Newark Conservative Association
  1. National

Councillor saw Patrick Mercer as a 'very solid citizen'

Councillors in Patrick Mercer's constituency of Newark, where he has a 16,000 majority, have expressed their shock at the news of his resignation.

Councillor Peter Duncan said he always thought of Mr Mercer as "a very solid citizen".

He added: "If this news is true then I am shocked. I thought he was a very strong individual with a strong point of view. He will be missed."

Another Tory councillor Derek Evans said: "I'm very surprised at the news. I've a lot of trust and faith in Patrick. I have utter faith in him as an MP."

Profile of Newark MP Patrick Mercer

Patrick Mercer became MP for Newark in 2001 Credit: Johnny Green/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Before entering Parliament in 2001 Patrick Mercer OBE spent 25 years as an army officer with the Sherwood Foresters, following in the footsteps of his father who had served in the same regiment during the Second World War.

During this time, Mr Mercer served in a number of countries, including Northern Ireland where he completed nine tours. As well as serving in Uganda, he commanded his battalion in both Bosnia and Canada.

His parliamentary career took off in 2001, when he overturned a Labour majority of 3,000 to become MP for Newark.

In 2003, he was appointed to the frontbench by the then Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith and became the party's spokesman on homeland security.

He continued to speak for the Tories on issues of national security even after Mr Duncan Smith was succeeded by Michael Howard, and later David Cameron.


  1. National

Panorama investigating lobbying and MP conduct

BBC's Panorama show said they have been investigating lobbying and conduct of MPs and members of the House of Lords and sought a response from "a number of people including Mr Mercer." In a statement the broadcaster said:

BBC Panorama has been investigating lobbying and the conduct of MPs and members of the House of Lords.

The programme is still being made and will be broadcast as soon as possible. The investigation has raised a number of issues related to those involved. Panorama has sought responses from a number of people including Mr Mercer.

Newark MP Mercer quitting over documentary claims

Newark MP Patrick Mercer has said he is quitting Parliament amid allegations that he broke rules on lobbying.

The backbencher said he was resigning the Tory whip immediately "to save my party embarrassment", and would not stand at the next general election.

In a statement, Mr Mercer said: "Panorama are planning to broadcast a programme alleging that I have broken Parliamentary rules.

"I am taking legal advice about these allegations - and I have referred myself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

"In the meantime, to save my party embarrassment, I have resigned the Conservative Whip and have so informed Sir George Young. I have also decided not to stand at the next general election."

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