A major triumph for the opposition. House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has confirmed the government is u-turning on its attempt to overhaul rules on Westminster standards. It has tabled a new motion that will undo its much-mocked vote on the conduct of Owen Paterson.


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The new motion, identical to that tabled by Labour’s Chris Bryant, chair of the Standards Committee, will if passed rescind the resolution and order from 3 November, as well as approve the watchdog’s verdict finding Owen Paterson guilty of “egregious” paid advocacy.

The scandal is dominating British politics for the second week in a row, not ideal for Boris Johnson who would rather focus attention on saving the world at COP26.

As well as u-turning, Number 10 has thrown the former Attorney General Sir Geoffrey Cox QC MP under the bus. Cox, an able lawyer, earned hundreds of thousands of pounds from a consultancy role while acting remotely from the Virgin Islands.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister today in effect suggested Cox is not doing his job properly and said MPs should be “visible in constituencies”.

Angry Tory MPs point out that criticism of Cox is interesting, coming from Boris Johnson, who before residing in Number 10 would spend up to 10-hours a month writing columns for the Daily Telegraph, giving him an hourly rate of £2,291 (or £275,000 a year). There were even rumours during the pandemic that Boris missed key COBRA meetings so he could finish a book on William Shakespeare. To be Prime Minister, or not to be Prime Minister, that is the question.