NICOLA Sturgeon has accused Boris Johnson’s government of outright corruption after a Tory minister suggested the standards commissioner should resign.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it was “difficult” for Kathryn Stone, who published a damning report on Tory MP Owen Paterson, to remain in her position.

The UK Government ordered Conservative parliamentarians to vote down the cross-party Standards Committee’s call for Paterson to be suspended from Parliament for 30 sitting days after he was found to have repeatedly lobbied ministers and officials for two companies paying him more than £3100,000 per year.

Paterson has since announced he is resigning as the MP for North Shropshire.

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

UPDATE: Owen Paterson resigns amid 'indescribable nightmare' after Boris Johnson U-turn

Commenting on Kwarteng’s remarks, Sturgeon tweeted: “This is classic corruption – protecting the MP found guilty of a standards breach and now trying to hound the independent investigator out of office.

“Yesterday was a dark day for the Commons – but also a reminder of the risks this Tory govt poses to basic democratic norms.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon meets with Joe Biden in absolute humiliation for Tories

Instead of backing the suspension in a ballot on Wednesday night, Tory MPs voted for a Tory-led panel to consider reforming the disciplinary process.

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”, the Business Secretary added: “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.”

READ MORE: Owen Paterson: Cries of 'shame' erupt as Commons votes to protect Tory MP

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."

Chris Bryant, chair of the cross-party Commons Standards Committee, said the Tory plan 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."

An ethics adviser to the Prime Minister suggested Johnson failed to uphold principles on standards by blocking Paterson’s immediate suspension.

Lord Evans, the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said the move was a “very serious and damaging moment for Parliament”.

And the former MI5 chief criticised the Tory-led review into the disciplinary process for MPs as being “deeply at odds with the best traditions of British democracy”.

Announcing his resignation, Paterson stated: "I have today, after consultation with my family, and with much sadness decided to resign as the MP for North Shropshire.

“The last two years have been an indescribable nightmare for my family and me.

“My integrity, which I hold very dear, has been repeatedly and publicly questioned.

“I maintain that I am totally innocent of what I have been accused of and I acted at all times in the interests of public health and safety.