UK ministers have been accused of trying to “bully” the standards commissioner out of her job as anger grew at the Tories for protecting a senior Conservative from an immediate suspension.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng (below) faced outrage for suggesting Kathryn Stone should resign in the wake of her damning investigation into former minister Owen Paterson.

Boris Johnson’s government has been accused of “corruption” after he ordered his MPs not to back the cross-party Standards Committee’s call for Paterson to be suspended from Parliament for 30 sitting days.

UPDATE: Tory government U-turns on standards committee overhaul after sparking backlash

Former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson in the House of Commons, London, as MPs debated an amendment calling for a review of his case after he received a six-week ban from Parliament over an 'egregious' breach of lobbying rules

Instead they voted for a Tory-led panel to consider reforming the disciplinary process after Paterson was found to have repeatedly lobbied ministers and officials for two companies paying him more than £100,000 per year.

Asked whether the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards should resign, Kwarteng told Sky News: “I think it’s difficult to see what the future of the commissioner is, given the fact that we’re reviewing the process, and we’re overturning and trying to reform this whole process, but it’s up to the commissioner to decide her position.”

Pushed on what he meant by “decide her position”, Kwarteng said: “It’s up to her to do that. I mean, it’s up to anyone where they’ve made a judgment and people have sought to change that, to consider their position, that’s a natural thing, but I’m not saying she should resign.”

The Tory government has since U-turned on plans to overhaul the standards system at Westminster.

Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs on Thursday morning: “The House voted very clearly yesterday to show that it is worried about the process of handling these complaints and that we would like an appeals system, but the change would need to be on a cross-party basis and that is clearly not the case."

Shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire called for the Prime Minister to “immediately distance himself from these latest attempts to poison British politics”.

“Having already ripped up the rules policing MPs’ behaviour to protect one of their own, it is appalling that this corrupt Government is now trying to bully the standards commissioner out of her job,” the Labour MP added.

The Business Secretary insisted that the Government ordering its MPs to change the rules to spare a colleague did not look “sleazy” as he rejected the mounting criticism.

Chris Bryant, chairman of the cross-party Commons Standards Committee, had said the Tory move was a “perversion of justice”.

“That is not what we do in this country, it’s what they do in Russia when a friend or a foe is suddenly under the cosh in the courts,” the Labour MP told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

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It was not just opposition MPs who were outraged by the move, with dozens of Tories abstaining and 13 rebelling against orders to vote for a new committee led by former minister John Whittingdale, which would re-examine Paterson’s case and whether a new standards system is needed.

Tory Angela Richardson was sacked as a parliamentary private secretary to Cabinet minister Michael Gove after she abstained.

However, she was rehired following the Government's U-turn.

With the Prime Minister ordering his MPs to back the move on Wednesday, it was passed with a majority of 18.

Paterson said it would allow him to clear his name after “two years of hell” and called for the resignation of Stone and others responsible for the recommendation against him.

“Sadly they have not done a good job and come up with a rotten report which is full of inaccuracies… (they) all have to go,” he said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

Hannah White, deputy director of the Institute for Government think thank, said it had been a “shameful day for British democracy”.

Anti-corruption campaigners and unions also condemned the Government’s actions, with Labour accusing the Tories of “wallowing in sleaze”.

The plan to establish the new committee was immediately thrown into chaos as Labour, the SNP and Liberal Democrats vowed to boycott it, depriving the panel of cross-party authority.

The row was triggered when Stone recommended a ban from Parliament of 30 sitting days for Paterson in a report subsequently approved by the Commons Standards Committee, which described the lobbying as “egregious”.

Stone’s investigation found he repeatedly lobbied on behalf of two companies for which he was acting as a paid consultant – Randox and Lynn’s Country Foods.

Paterson claimed the investigation was unfairly conducted and said the manner in which it was carried out played a “major role” in his wife Rose’s suicide last year.