IT'S very doubtful that former minister Owen Paterson's resignation as an MP will bring to an end the widespread anger felt throughout the country about Boris Johnson's handling of Mr Paterson's breach of anti-lobbying rules as concluded by the Parliamentary Standards Committee ("PM told to say sorry as lobby row MP quits Commons", The Herald, November 5).

The current anti-lobbying rules, which were intended to calm public disquiet following sleaze allegations against politicians, were seemingly set aside in a manner which some have suggested was intended to save Mr Paterson from being suspended from the House thereby heralding a by-election.

Then came the Boris Johnson u-turn, raising further questions about his leadership, credibility, and integrity and casting doubts about whether a party led by him would win the next General Election despite there being an appalling opposition. The world of politics would surely be a better place without the shilly-shallying Mr Johnson and the divisive Nicola Sturgeon.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.


IF we strip back the tragic family circumstances surrounding the Owen Paterson case, we are left with a fiasco of the Westminster Government's making, leaving it with egg on its face as it scrambled to clear him of the verdict by the Parliament's Standards Committee of falling seriously foul of the anti-lobbying regulations.

To begin with, our renowned columnist, notorious for his cavalier connection with the truth and now elevated to editor-in-chief of the House of Commons, tried to deflect the attribution of sleaze by claiming that the committee was not fit for purpose.

To give Mr Paterson his due, once the Government via the elegantly-tailored Jacob Rees-Mogg indicated that it was reversing its earlier decision to suspend the judgment upon the offending MP and would now enter into cross-party negotiations before establishing a new process for investigation into parliamentary lapses, he jumped before he was pushed and resigned as an MP.

Boris Johnson may have sailed too close to the wind or flown too close to the sun on this occasion and you have to wonder whether his popularity will finally suffer as he loses his Teflon Don protection as the electorate finally understands that he is navigating by the seat of his pants, as has has been shown by the other scrapes he has managed to wriggle free from.

The penny has to drop some time.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.


THE re-emergence of sleaze within the political elite is hugely disappointing and quite what Boris Johnson and his so-called advisers were thinking about in their efforts to defend Owen Paterson is anyone’s guess.

Further, their efforts to reform the parliamentary standards process was at best clumsy and at worst entirely self-interested. Voters will judge this sorry and unedifying episode very harshly when the time comes to do so.

The indignation, anger and outrage expressed by the opposition parties is entirely expected, but it is also worth reflecting that inappropriate behaviour is not unique to the Tories. Opposition parties such as the SNP and the Labour Party are absolutely entitled to attack the Tories, but they themselves must remember their own misdemeanours and act accordingly, where at times they have not done so.

It is not that long ago the the former SNP MSP Derek Mackay retained his salary and claimed expenses for more than a year without being in the Scottish Parliament. The First Minister was found guilty of misleading the Scottish Parliament. A Labour MP, Claudia Webbe, has just been found guilty of harassment and threats to another woman using acid. The list is too long.

Regretfully it seems the sense of entitlement felt by our political masters across all colours remains firmly in place, and too often the voters are being asked to clear the gutters of discredited politicians.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh.


OWEN Paterson has taken the only decent option available to him in resigning as MP for North Shropshire.

He claims he resigned at the behest of his family following the disgraceful actions of some in mocking his wife's tragic death. However, it begs the question: why did he not do this earlier? He knowingly accepted an eye-watering remuneration from two companies in order to lobby the Government on their behalf. He was under investigation for two years and could have accepted responsibility for his misdemeanour at any time during that period, but failed to do so. His actions are just typical of this Government, with sleaze and entitlement evident in the highest echelons of the Tory elite.

He blames the investigation into his activities as being partly responsible for his wife's tragic death. He must bear some responsibility for this, as it was his corrupt actions which initiated the investigation.

The plans for changing the rules for investigation into MP rule-breaking have been shelved for now. Any change must be resisted, as this goes to the heart of democracy and accountability.

Pauline Campbell, Paisley.


ACCORDING to many a hot headline and column, the Tories are in "crisis" over sleaze after the Owen Paterson debacle.


No argument that they are mired in sleaze – Boris Johnson always has been and since then there has been Grant Shapps and the no-boat ferry contracts, Matt Hancock and the Covid contracts-to-mates vileness, Priti Patel still in post after bullying findings. Need I go on?

Sleaze, yes. Crisis, no. It's what they do.

Amanda Baker, Edinburgh.

* THE Prime Minister's continuing antics remind me of a pet lamb on the farm. Amusing for a while when you're playing the daft laddie, but they still come for you in the end.

Gilbert MacKay, Newton Mearns.


WITH respect to Alison Rowat’s analysis of Blair and Brown: The New Labour Revolution recent series on BBC2, I could not agree more with her view of Gordon Brown ("Does history owe Prime Minister Brown an apology?", The Herald, November 4).

As she states, and clearly I don’t know the man personally, "he could be difficult, infuriating, lacking in decisiveness, overbearing". But he displayed decency and I would wager my house that he was in politics for the common good, absolutely not for personal gain.

And there was none of the three-word sound bites, bluster and false bonhomie ("Our friends in Europe" for example) of the current incumbent of No 10 Downing Street.

How has the country come to this?

Willie Towers, Alford.


IS the First Minister being truthful when she claims the the SNP ad during COP 26 about Scotland being "a nation in waiting" was not connected with promoting her party’s plans to break up the UK? No fair-minded person, surely, could accept that.

As John McEnroe would have said: "You cannot be serious."

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.


LIVING in Glasgow, I was looking forward to attending events at the Green Zone of COP26, the area open to the general public. I have checked events every day since the programme became available, but there have been no tickets available.

I find it very difficult to believe that tickets for all 196 events have been sold out from the day that the programme was made available. If they were, then why does it say on the COP26 website: "You can visit the Green Zone in-person by booking a free ticket online ... there will be amazing opportunities to listen, learn and celebrate climate action”?

So does anyone know what is happening? Are these events actually full or is the public being excluded?

J Pountain, Glasgow.


IT is sad to see the Church of Scotland in such dire straits. The leadership leaves much to be desired. Presbyteries are being instructed to close vacant churches which are perfectly viable in that they have a supportive congregation which has sufficient funds not only to sustain itself but to contribute to the central funds. The excuse given is that there are or will be insufficient ministers at a future date. This is a poor excuse, to say the least. At the time of the Reformation there were insufficient clergymen but a solution was soon found – the appointment of Readers. Those Readers simply read the service. However, during the 20th century Readers were trained to conduct services and to carry out pastoral duties also.

Clearly the way ahead is to appoint ministers to viable charges and to appoint Readers under supervision to conduct services and pastoral duties in charges which can no longer pay their way. Such churches, thus encouraged, can take a full part in propagating the Gospel.

Bill Findlay, Bishopbriggs.


A LETTER from RJ Ardern (November 3) referred to the question of "shared paths"' for pedestrians and cyclists.

This morning, as I walked along Great Western Road, opposite St Mary's Cathedral, I suddenly found myself surrounded by three ScottishPower electric bikes – on the pavement. They crept up on me silently. Guess who had to give way? I didn't remonstrate as I should have done – but it was three to one after all.

I'm in my eighties, still a good walker, and pretty alert to what is going on around me. I want to continue to be so for as long as possible. However, this is not the first time I could have been clobbered by cyclists, and I'm really fed up with it

As previous correspondents have suggested, it's time something was done about this. Okay, cycling is good for the nation's health, and planet Earth, blah, blah, blah... so is walking, but pedestrians are seriously under threat, and cyclists by and large don't give a damn.

Robert Love, Glasgow.


I WAS much moved by the concern and alarm evidenced by my dear wife when I surprised her by laughing out loud when quietly processing the momentous issues of the day.

The reason for my unexpected mirth? Steven Camley’s “Wee Greta/First Minister" cartoon (The Herald, November 5).

No need for the White Coats yet. She joined me.

R Russell Smith, Largs.

Read more: Why would we want to stay tied to this sleaze-ridden lot?