BASINGSTOKE’s MP has defended her decision to back a controversial amendment this week, saying “important changes” are needed in parliament.

Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone found after an investigation that Former Conservative MP Owen Paterson had lobbied on behalf of two companies which had paid him more than £100,000 a year – Randox, and Lynn’s Country Foods.

In serious breaches such as this, the Commissioner refers cases to the Commons Standards Committee, a crossbench group of MPs and members of the public, who can then decide on a sanction.

The Commons Standards Committee said his actions were an “egregious” breach of the rules on paid advocacy by MPs and recommended that he should be suspended for 30 sitting days, or six weeks.

But Mr Paterson, who had represented North Shropshire since 1997, rejected the Commissioner’s findings, accusing her of making up her mind before she had even spoken to him and that the investigation had been a contributing factor in the suicide of his wife, Rose.

Mr Paterson quit as an MP rather than face the prospect of being suspended from Parliament for 30 sitting days for an alleged breach of lobbying rules.

The senior Tory announced his resignation after the Prime Minister was forced to abandon a plan to prevent Mr Paterson’s immediate suspension by launching a review of the entire disciplinary system.

The controversial plan was backed by almost 250 Tory MPs on Wednesday, although there was a sizable rebellion and by Thursday morning the Government was forced into a U-turn, blaming a lack of cross-party support.

The supporting MPs, including Basingstoke’ Maria Miller, have also received backlash, including accusations of sticking their necks out to ‘save their own’.

However, Mrs Miller has said that the issue of Mr Paterson is completely separate from the need for review, which is what she voted for.

She told the Gazette: “I voted for a complete review of the system to investigate allegations against MPs because the process is out of date, lacking any independent appeal system.

“The need for this review is completely separate to the situation faced by Owen Patterson and the two should not be conflated.

“This is an opportunity to call for important changes to be made to modernise the way Parliament works.”

Mr Paterson faced a vote on his suspension after he was found to have repeatedly lobbied ministers and officials for two companies paying him more than £100,000 per year.

He had always maintained his innocence but said he was resigning because “I am unable to clear my name under the current system” and due to a desire to spare his family any more suffering.

Mr Johnson said he was “very sad” that Mr Paterson was standing down after a “distinguished career”.