Two Conservative MPs – one a deputy chair of the party and the other a former minister – find themselves under scrutiny by Westminster’s standards watchdog.

Daniel Greenberg, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, has initiated investigations into Conor Burns, the MP for Bournemouth West, and Jonathan Gullis, who represents Stoke-on-Trent North.

Burns, who held positions in the governments of both Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, faces scrutiny under paragraph seven of the MPs’ code of conduct.

This paragraph stipulates: “Members must only use information received in confidence during their parliamentary activities for those activities alone, and never for other purposes.”

Burns’ knighthood in Johnson’s resignation honours list contrasts sharply with his dismissal by Truss due to allegations of “serious misconduct” following the Conservative Party’s conference.

Conor Burns, the MP for Bournemouth West, has been embroiled in several controversies:

  1. Misuse of Confidential Information: Burns is under investigation for allegedly breaching paragraph seven of the MPs’ code of conduct, which pertains to the use of confidential information received during parliamentary activities. It is alleged that he used such information for purposes beyond his parliamentary duties.
  2. Allegations of Serious Misconduct: Burns faced serious allegations of misconduct following the Conservative Party’s conference, resulting in his dismissal by Liz Truss, who was then serving as the government minister. The nature of these allegations has not been publicly disclosed.
  3. Knighted Despite Controversy: Despite the cloud of controversy surrounding him, Burns was included in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list and subsequently knighted. This move has sparked criticism and raised questions about the appropriateness of honouring someone under investigation for misconduct.

Gullis, serving as one of the Conservative Party’s deputy chairs, is under investigation pursuant to paragraph 10 of the MPs’ code of conduct.

This section asserts: “A Member who is the Chair and Registered Contact of an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) must ensure that the Group and any secretariat observe the rules set down for such Groups.”

While the details of the probes remain undisclosed during their progress, the watchdog’s website reveals Gullis is being scrutinised regarding the “registration of interests received by the APPG for Defibrillators”.

Gullis’s political trajectory, having seized his seat from Labour in the fall of the “red wall” in 2019, appears precarious, with widespread anticipation of his loss in the upcoming general election.

Adding to the controversies, two other MPs – former Conservatives turned independents Andrew Bridgen and Bob Stewart – are currently under investigation by the standards watchdog.

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