House of Commons Committee on Standards

Thank you for contacting me about the House of Commons Committee on Standards, I appreciate your concern around this area.
I believe it is essential that Members of Parliament uphold the highest standards in public life. This is why there must be tough and robust checks on Members to ensure they adhere to these standards. There must be an effective process to scrutinise members and, if necessary, to discipline those who deviate from these principles.
The Committee on Standards suggested that Owen Paterson should be suspended from the House of Commons for 30 sitting days. Whilst I maintain that the work of the Committee on Standards is vital, this case and others before it, brought to light a cross-party consensus that there are issues with the Committee. This included: the lack of examination of witnesses, the unused mechanism to appoint an investigatory panel, the failure to interpret the rules relating to whistle blowing and most importantly the absence of a right of appeal.  
The Government actioned these concerns by proposing that the motion being put forward by the Committee on Standards, should be amended to set up a fairer Cross-Party Select Committee. This Select Committee would investigate the conduct of Members of Parliament and consider the possibility of them having a right to appeal. Due to lack of cross-party support, the Government was unable to set up the new Committee. The Government has been clear that no new system will be put in to place without support from across the House. 
I welcome the Government proposal to work on a cross-party basis to achieve improvements in our system for future cases. The Government has been clear that this should not be based on a single case or applied retrospectively. Ministers will bring forward more detailed plans once there have been cross-party discussions.