Trade minister Conor Burns quits after sleaze probe found he tried to intimidate member of public

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A MINISTER quit after a sleaze probe found he tried to intimidate a member of the public.

Conor Burns, a close ally of the PM, also faces a seven-day suspension from Parliament.

A Commons Standards committee found MP Conor Burns breached the code of conduct by using his ministerial position to 'attempt to intimidate' a company boss
PA:Press Association

A Commons Standards committee found MP Conor Burns breached the code of conduct by using his ministerial position to ‘attempt to intimidate’ a company boss[/caption]

The Commons Standards committee found he breached the code of conduct by using his position as an MP to “attempt to intimidate” a company boss.

Mr Burns, a trade minister, intervened in a loan dispute between his dad and the boss.

He threatened to use parliamentary privilege — which gives immunity against legal action — to name the individual.

The Tory MP for Bournemouth West wrote: “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.”

Mr Burns even asked Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone to contact the complainant.

But Ms Stone concluded in a report that Mr Burns “put personal interest before public interest by suggesting he would take advantage of his public office to pursue his father’s financial dispute”.

It also said he “persisted in making veiled threats” to “further his family’s interests”.

The report added he behaved “disrespectfully” during the investigation.

No 10 said Mr Burns, who played a key role in Boris Johnson’s campaign to become PM, would be replaced “in due course”.


In evidence to the investigation, Mr Burns said: “I absolutely should not have written to the complainant in the terms I did.”

Meanwhile trade minister Greg Hands has been told to apologise to MPs for sending a Commons-headed letter to around 7,000 constituents.

The standards committee said the mailshot had breached rules which say MPs should not use Parliamentary stationery to their political advantage.