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CABINET big gun Jacob Rees-Mogg finally admitted today he was behind the Owen Paterson stitch-up – as ministers scramble to unpick the deal which sparked the Westminster sleaze scandal.
The Commons leader confessed this morning he told the PM to back shamed Mr Paterson as he issued a grovelling apology for the saga which has engulfed MPs.
He told Conservative Home's Moggcast: "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."
He said he'd felt sorry for Mr Paterson, who lost his wife Rose to suicide, and that he "had been punished enough".
The Commons leader said he hoped the motion would be seen as "merciful" but voters saw it instead as "self-serving".
"That has not been helpful to government and to parliament, and that's why it will be reversed."
And he insisted he'd had complaints about the process from MPs across the House of Commons who said there was no right of appeal.
It comes as No10 pushes a fresh parliamentary motion which finally admits Paterson was guilty of dodgy lobbying and tears up the botched bid to water down sleaze rules.
Ministers tabled a motion to rap the ex Tory MP and scrap controversial disciplinary reforms which sparked the Westminster sleaze scandal.
But last night the bid was foiled by Tory old boy Sir Christopher Chope – a longtime pal of Mr Paterson – who sparked fury by objecting to the motion.
The motion can only be passed unanimously by MPs.
The astonishing move creates a headache for No10, which is desperate to finally draw a line under the sleaze scandal.
And it will further enrage Tory Red Wall politicians, who are seething at the scandal.
One leading Red Waller told The Sun that the sleaze crisis is “worse than the Dominic Cummings scandal”.
They added: “It is awful. The old guard just wanted to throw us under the bus to protect one of their own.
“It has really shaken faith in the Prime Minister.”
Mr Paterson was found guilty of an “egregious” breach of the rules by lobbying ministers for two companies who paid him.
A report by sleazebusters recommended he be suspended from Parliament for 30 days as punishment.
But Boris Johnson cooked up a backroom deal which would have seen Mr Paterson’s suspension delayed and reforms to create a Tory dominated anti sleaze committee rammed through.
The deal sparked a national outcry and within hours the PM U-turned on it, and Mr Paterson quit as an MP.
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