Standards watchdog examining actions of Conservative Member of Parliament, Miriam Cates

An influential figure within the right-wing faction of the party has been accused of inflicting significant harm on the reputation of the parliament. Miriam Cates, a Conservative MP representing Penistone and Stocksbridge in South Yorkshire since 2019, is currently under investigation by the parliamentary standards watchdog.

The investigation, as stated on the commissioner for standards’ website, focuses on Cates’ alleged actions that have caused substantial damage to the reputation of the House of Commons or its members at large.

This inquiry falls within the framework outlined in paragraph 17 of the updated 2019 code of conduct for MPs, which mandates that members must refrain from engaging in any behavior that could result in considerable harm to the overall integrity and standing of the House of Commons or fellow members.

No further details regarding the investigation have been disclosed. The commissioner, Daniel Greenberg, maintains confidentiality until the inquiry concludes. Those under investigation are not permitted to discuss the allegations.

In addition to her role as an MP, Cates co-founded the New Conservatives group alongside fellow backbencher Danny Kruger. As one of several right-leaning pressure groups within the Conservative Party, this group, along with four others, has been putting pressure on Rishi Sunak to strengthen his bill aimed at limiting legal challenges in the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda.

During a joint press conference involving all five groups, Cates remarked, “We concur that the bill is flawed in its current state. We do not believe it will effectively prevent the inflow of asylum seekers.”

Cates is widely recognized as an advocate for the cultural conflict-oriented sector of the Tory right-wing. She also collaborates with the Common Sense Group, another of the five pressure groups. Together with Kruger, she established the New Social Covenant Unit, which seeks to advance family-centered policies.

A former biology teacher, Cates strongly supports initiatives designed to encourage UK women to have more children. Her viewpoint aligns with that of European populists like Hungary’s Viktor Orb├ín and Italy’s Giorgia Meloni. Additionally, she opposes self-identification for transgender individuals.

Speaking at a conference organized by the US-based National Conservatism group in May, Cates asserted that the low birthrate in the UK is the most significant policy concern of the generation. She partly attributes this issue to what she describes as “a cultural Marxism that is systematically eroding the well-being of our children’s souls.”

The usage of the term “cultural Marxism” is contentious, as it is often linked to conspiracy theories associated with the far right and anti-Semitism.

Greenberg is currently conducting investigations into eight MPs, with the earliest inquiry dating back to June. Seven of the MPs being investigated are Conservatives, including Eleanor Laing, the deputy speaker, and Bernard Jenkin. The eighth MP is Andrew Bridgen, formerly affiliated with the Tories, who now represents Reclaim.

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