| 10.2°C Belfast

Belfast-born MP Conor Burns tried to 'intimidate' member of public in money row, probe finds


Conor Burns has resigned as a minister (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

Conor Burns has resigned as a minister (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

Conor Burns has resigned as a minister (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

A Northern Ireland-born MP has resigned as trade minister after he tried to "intimidate a member of the public" over a financial dispute with his father, a Commons investigation found.

Conservative MP Conor Burns was found to have breached the code of conduct for MPs.

Downing Street announced he had stood down from the Department of International Trade after the Commons standards committee recommended he should be suspended from Parliament for seven days.

The committee's report published on Monday morning said he had used his position as an MP to "attempt to intimidate" a member of the public into doing as he wished over a financial dispute involving his father.

The dispute related to private family interests and he "persisted in making veiled threats" to use parliamentary privilege to "further his family's interests" during the course of the investigation, the committee said.

Mr Burns was born in Belfast before his family moved to Hertfordshire at a very young age where he went to school. He has been Bournemouth West MP since 2010.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "Conor Burns has resigned as minister of state for international trade following a report from the Parliamentary commissioner for standards. A replacement will be announced in due course."

The complaint into the MP for Bournemouth West alleged he had attempted to secure a payment to his father by suggesting he may use parliamentary privilege to raise the case in the Commons unless he secured the payment to his father.

"The committee considers that Mr Burns' abuse of his privileged status in an attempt to intimidate a member of the public calls for a sanction more severe than apology," the committee said.

"It recommends that Mr Burns should be suspended from the service of the House for seven days."

Belfast Telegraph