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Tory replacement for Owen Paterson says no second job as he distances himself from predecessor 

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Exclusive: Tory favourite to replace Owen Paterson as North Shropshire MP gives ‘cast iron commitment’ not to take a second job if elected as he distances himself from his disgraced lobbyist predecessor

  • Dr Neil Shastri-Hurst the favourite to take the safe Tory seat of North Shropshire  
  • Paterson quit on Nov 4 after breaking parliamentary rules on paid lobbying
  • Dr Shastri-Hurst told MailOnline: ‘I commit to one job and one job only’










The Tory candidate to replace former MP Owen Paterson today rules out taking any second jobs if elected as he seeks to distance himself from his disgraced predecessor.

Dr Neil Shastri-Hurst is the favourite to take the safe Tory seat of North Shropshire in a by-election triggered when Mr Paterson quit amidst a sleaze row.

The former British Army doctor and practicing barrister is standing in a seat won by the Tories with a 23,000 majority in 2019. It has been held by the Conservatives since it was created in 1983.

But the party faces a brace of December votes that will show how badly the ongoing sleaze row engulfing the Tories is harming them at the polls. 

Mr Paterson quit on November 4 having broken parliamentary rules on paid lobbying on behalf of firms paying him £112,000 a year, on top of his £82,000 MP salary.

Ahead of the December 16 by-election in North Shropshire Dr Shastri-Hunt gave a ‘cast iron commitment’ that he would take no other job if elected.

‘I commit to one job and one job only, that of being a hardworking constituency MP,’ he told MailOnline.

Dr Neil Shastri-Hurst is the favourite to take the safe Tory seat of North Shropshire in a by-election triggered when Mr Paterson quit amidst a sleaze row.

Dr Neil Shastri-Hurst is the favourite to take the safe Tory seat of North Shropshire in a by-election triggered when Mr Paterson quit amidst a sleaze row.

Mr Paterson quit on November 4 having broken parliamentary rules on paid lobbying on behalf of firms paying him £112,000 a year, on top of his £82,000 MP salary.

Mr Paterson quit on November 4 having broken parliamentary rules on paid lobbying on behalf of firms paying him £112,000 a year, on top of his £82,000 MP salary.

North Shropshire by-election candidates 

Neil Shastri-Hurst – Conservatives

Ben Wood – Labour

Helen Morgan – Liberal Democrats

Duncan Kerr – Green Party 

Kirsty Walmsley – Reform UK 

Alan Hope – Official Monster Raving Loony Party

‘That is where my sole focus is at. Well, that and being a husband and father to a young son! 

‘My priority is delivering for the residents of North Shropshire, with my plan to invest in the our NHS, back local businesses, deliver good road and rail links, by dualling the A5 and reopening the Gobowen-Oswestry line, protecting our farms and rural communities, and building upon the investment in digital connectivity to in the constituency.’

Mr Shastri-Hurst, whose parents were both NHS medics, was an officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps and has worked as a consultant at University Hospitals Birmingham.

He qualified as a barrister in 2018 and is currently a member of No5 Chambers in Birmingham.   

He was unveiled by the Conservatives last week as they seek to retain Mr Paterson’s former seat. 

The former Northern Ireland and Environment Secretary dramatically resigned on November 4 after Boris Johnson executed an extraordinary U-turn on a bid to block his punishment for lobbying that kicked off more than two weeks of sleaze headlines.

Paterson declared he was quitting as an MP after 24 years when the PM effectively cut him adrift, saying he would continue as a public servant ‘outside the cruel world of politics’.

The bombshell came hours after Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg announced the government was dropping plans for a retrospective overhaul of sleaze rules following a huge backlash at the ‘politically-motivated’ decision.

The reversal meant that a motion on suspending Mr Paterson for 30 days for lobbying rule breaches – the punishment recommended by the cross-party standards committee – was set to be brought before the House again within days.

Mr Paterson’s decision makes the new showdown unnecessary – and also spares the 65-year-old the prospect of a recall petition and having to fight a by-election. 

Mr Paterson became a consultant to clinical diagnostics firm Randox – which sponsors the Grand National horse race – in August 2015, a year after he left Government after serving as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Environment under David Cameron.

He has carried out a similar role for Lynn’s Country Foods, a processor and distributor of meat products including ‘nitrite-free’ items, since December 2016.

Both firms are based in Northern Ireland and between them paid him more than £112,000 a year on top of his £80,000 annual MP salary. 

But he was found to have broken lobbying rules by approaching the FSA repeatedly on behalf of Randox regarding its tests for antibiotics in milk between 2016 and 2017. 

He also The hardline Brexiteer broke the same rules by making seven approaches to the FSA for Lynn’s Country Foods in November 2017, January 2018 and July 2018 regarding a rival ‘global food producer (who) was acting in breach of EU law by mislabelling a product’. 

Among other offences he also used his parliamentary office for meetings on behalf of Randox, in contravention of Commons rules. 

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