JACOB Rees-Mogg’s position as Leader of the House of Commons is “totally and utterly untenable” after the Owen Paterson scandal, MPs have heard.

The top Tory found himself under fire for pushing through an amendment which intended to establish a review of the MP standards investigation process.

The move was co-ordinated after Tory MP Paterson was found to have been paid £100,000 to lobby ministers and officials on behalf of two companies.

The Tories had intended to scrap that standards committee after their ruling on Paterson, but were then forced into a screeching U-turn the next day after a public backlash.

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And now, almost two weeks later, the Tories and Rees-Mogg found themselves back in the Commons to pass the original amendment which would have suspended Paterson for 30 days.

Paterson resigned after the Government’s U-turn.

Rees-Mogg found himself in the firing line after taking to the despatch box to move the motion on Tuesday.

The Leader of the House expressed “regret” at the move and told MPs that the amendment to save Paterson was a “mistake”.

The National: Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Intervening in the Committee on Standards debate, Labour’s Stephen Timms described it as “an extraordinary failure of moral leadership”, asking why ministers did “not recognise the brazen wrongdoing of their colleague?”

Rees-Mogg replied: “I think it was simply the tragedy that afflicted Mr (Owen) Paterson coloured and clouded our judgement, and my judgement, incorrectly and it is as simple and as sad as that.”

He added: “I regret that the amendment conflated an individual case with more general concerns, that was a mistake.”

However, Labour shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire said that the Government and Rees-Mogg were warned about conflating an individual case with changes to the process overall.

She told the Commons: “What explanation can there be for his plaintive lament the very next day, the days after, and even today on his podcast, that it was a pity that the issues of changing the standards process and a live case had become conflated when it was literally him doing the conflating.”

She said the issue was raised by the chairman of the Committee on Standards and senior Conservatives, adding, “all of us warned the leader of the House against the dangers of conflation. He was warned. Yet conflate he did. He heeded none of those warnings”.

Debbonaire also criticised the “chaos” of the last 13 days.

She added: “I really thought that the Government, having admitted their mistake, and squirrelled away this remedy on a late night no-debate motion, surely they will have made sure that no-one was going to mess it up for them again. But, oh, how wrong I was.”

She added the Government “cannot sweep this under the rug”.

Meanwhile, SNP MP Pete Wishart said Rees-Mogg’s position is “totally and utterly untenable”.

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He told the Commons: “This little plan to save their pal was hatched between the Leader of the House and the Government Chief Whip, backed enthusiastically by the Prime Minister in order to have their pal saved.

“This was backed enthusiastically, he’s supposed to be the clever one.

“It’s him that’s got the Eton education, the millions in the Caymans. This is all on him and he’s responsible for this mess.

“You don’t usually survive something like this, a story lasting 13 days. He has defied the laws of political science, and it’s amazing we still find him at this despatch box today.”

The National:

Wishart (pictured) added: “He’s opened a Pandora’s box of Tory sleaze and it was him that took the lid off, and we could all see what’s inside of this.

“They think this is all over, it’s not over yet, it’s barely just begun.”

And, former Prime Minister Theresa May warned that damage has been done to “Parliament as a whole” by the way Paterson’s standards case had been handled by the Government.

She added: “It would be a mistake to think that because someone broke the rules, the rules were wrong. The rule on paid advocacy is a long-standing one.

“The problem came because there was an attempt to effectively let off a then-Member of the House.

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“That flew in the face of the rules on paid advocacy and in the face of the processes established by this House.”

MPs approved the motion to scrap the controversial standards reform that sparked the Tory sleaze row at the end of the debate.

It passed without the need for a formal vote, with shouts of unopposed “ayes” in the chamber enough to allow it to be approved.

We previously told how Rees-Mogg claimed he “encouraged” Boris Johnson to defend Paterson and that he thought it was “the right thing to do”.