Could Jacob Rees Mogg get the chop? MP admits he told PM to save Paterson

Jacob Rees-Mogg urged to 'consider position' by Debbonaire

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Jacob Rees-Mogg has said he “encouraged” the Prime Minister to save MP Owen Paterson in what has led to the “sleaze” scandal. MPs and the public alike are furious with Boris Johnson for trying to upend standards rules – with MPs second jobs also brought into question.

Speaking on his The Moggcast podcast, the Commons Leader said: “I must take my share of responsibility for this.

“I thought it was the right thing to do, I encouraged the Prime Minister to go down this route, and I was wrong, I made a mistake.”

Mr Rees-Mogg said that “in hindsight” it was a “really obvious mistake to have made”.

He added: “I felt that Owen had been punished enough by the death of his wife, and therefore allowed this conflation to take place in my mind.”

Mr Paterson’s wife, Rose, took her own in life last year and the former MP had suggested this was, in part, due to the investigation against him.

Mr Rees-Mogg continued: “It was not seen by the electorate as being merciful, it was seen as being self-serving.”

“There was a more general feeling beyond Conservative MPs that things weren’t working quite as they should and that left Members of Parliament at the sharp end of a system that was weighted against them.

“And whether that’s right or not, that was the feeling that was being represented to me.”

Mr Johnson ordered Conservative Party MPs to back the dismantling of the current standards system and to prevent Mr Paterson’s suggested 30-day suspension from the House of Commons – a move which has done catastrophic repetitional damage to the Tories and to Parliament.

Number 10 backed an amendment suspending Paterson’s punishment and creating a new standards body with a built-in Tory majority.

Disgraced MP Owen Paterson resigned following the vote in the House of Commons, which had saved him until Mr Johnson U-turned less than 24 hours later.

The Prime Minister has refused to apologise for the scandal despite calls from all sides of parliament.

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Could Rees-Mogg lose his job?

Downing Street has said Mr Rees-Mogg has the full confidence of the Prime Minister.

During a debate in the House of Commons today, Mr Rees-Mogg sought to defend himself further.

The Commons Leader says it was “simply the tragedy that affected Mr Paterson coloured and clouded our judgment incorrectly”.

He adds: “It is as simple and sad as that.”

He also urged the House to “set aside the previous debate” in order to work together to improve the standards process.

Shadow commons leader Thangam Debbonaire said some are still asking “how did we get here”.

She notes the Leadsom Amendment backed by the Commons Leader “tore right through” the motion that would have seen Mr Paterson suspended.

She said: “What explanation can there be for his plaintive complaint the very next day, the days after and even today on his podcast that it was a pity the issues had become conflated when it was literally him doing the conflating.”

Ms Debbonaire also noted the MP had apologised on his podcast but not to the House.

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