The National:

HAS Andrew Bowie finally found a backbone?

Reports say that he has stepped down from his role as vice-chair of the Conservative and Unionist Party in protest at the sleaze engulfing the UK Government.

But Bowie himself has said no such thing.

What he did say, less than one week ago, was that the revamp to Westminster’s standards system in the wake of the Owen Paterson scandal was not about protecting that former minister from the consequences of his own actions.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross 'runs away' from key Westminster vote on Owen Paterson

According to Bowie, the Government’s attempt to save Paterson’s skin (and perhaps pre-emptively Boris Johnson’s) was “about creating a better, fairer system”.

He told Times Radio: “This is not about electoral politics, this is not about partisan politics.

“This is about creating a better, fairer system that’s better able and better placed to hold MPs to account if they’ve done wrong, but also to give them a system whereby they’re allowed a process of natural justice, a course of appeal to appeal any decisions that are taken.

“If voters misconstrue that, or we are not able to explain why we have taken the decision that we have, and that costs votes then so be it.”

Summed up, Bowie was asking what it matters if voters don’t support the Tories, as long as Boris Johnson gets his way.

However, unlike Paterson’s North Shropshire seat, which is one of the safest in the UK, Bowie’s sits on a precipice.

It seems that given the West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP has a majority of just 843, down from almost 8000 in 2017, he saw fit to change his mind.

Less than one week after defending Tory sleaze in such strong terms, Bowie handed in his resignation. This begs the question: did he believe his words even as he was speaking them?

If not, should anyone believe a word he says?