SCOTTISH Tories have told of embarrassment and anger in the party as they seek to distance themselves from the sleaze and “cash for honours” claims which have engulfed Boris Johnson.

Senior figures described wanting the Prime Minister to apologise over the debacle which saw him attempt to rip up the current parliamentary standards system to try to block the suspension of a former cabinet ­minister who had breached lobbying rules only to U-turn on the move the next day.

But so far Johnson – who was asked directly whether he would ­apologise for bringing the Commons into ­disrepute over the Owen Paterson saga – has failed to do so.

Party insiders in Scotland last night did not deny the Tories are “at war” after MPs forced to vote for the ­standards shake-up turned on ­Johnson and his handling of the ­matter after the review was dropped.

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They spoke out after West ­Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie announced he was stepping down as Conservative vice-chair reportedly telling friends he is “unable to support the government” in the wake of the Paterson debacle.

Holyrood Tory frontbencher ­Murdo Fraser (below) later publicly criticised the government’s handling of the ­matter when he appeared on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme yesterday.

The National:

“Murdo didn’t hold back. It’s a ‘cluster fumble’,” one Scottish ­Conservative figure told The ­National.

“There is an embarrassment, there will be a tinge of anger. There will be a feeling of wanting to say ‘we’re the Scottish party. It’s not us!’ But it’s ­really hard.

“There is a pressure on MPs to vote for something out of collegiate loyalty – and then to be sh*t upon 24 hours later by the U-turn ... To me the biggest thing is frustration. It’s self-inflicted. We didn’t have to go there.”

The insider added that what he found particularly frustrating was that he believed the PM had been performing well at COP26 and was “really trying to cajole the world into doing far better and far more” in fighting climate change.

“There are times the PM doesn’t appear on top of his brief, but on this he absolutely was. It was quite a revelation. And then along comes a self-inflicted wound and the wound is dominated by their own issues.”

The National: Douglas Ross's Scottish Tory party has been making claims on social media which have been called 'blatant falsehoods'

Pointing to Douglas Ross’s ­(above) ambition to get the Tories from second place at Holyrood to be the main party with him as first minister, the insider went on: “It’s frustrating to the party in Scotland as we have a job to do.”

Johnson was not the preferred choice of party leader among ­Scottish Tories during the 2019 leadership election with most of the party’s MSPs backing his rival, former health secretary and remainer Jeremy Hunt, instead.

The previous year the party had even gone to far as to launch ­“Operation Ars*” in a bid to stop Johnson becoming party leader and Prime Minister.

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But the plan failed and the ­Scottish Tories were then forced to remain ­loyal with only those who backed Brexit securing government jobs. However, the fragile truce appears now to be ending with Bowie’s ­resignation from the prominent party role and others expressing ­unhappiness.

Last night a second Scottish Tory insider expressed his frustration. “Douglas Ross summed it up very well. He said the Prime Minister had made the wrong call,” said the source discussing the attempt to overhaul the standards procedures to save ­Paterson.

“Boris has always been not as ­acceptable as some to people in ­Scotland, that’s well known. I think Andrew Bowie is reflecting pretty much the main stream view of Conservatives in Scotland on the issue.”

Speaking to Sky News, Nicola Sturgeon said: “There is a real concern, and I certainly don’t use this word lightly, a sense of corruption at the heart of the Westminster system and this has to be rooted out.”