OWEN Paterson being given a peerage after his resignation from the Commons would be “grotesque and deeply offensive”, Nicola Sturgeon has claimed.

Paterson stepped down on Thursday amid a debacle which saw the UK Government forced to U-turn following an attempt to overhaul the complaints procedure to save the former cabinet minister from a 30-day suspension.

He had been found guilty by standards authorities of breaching Commons rules by lobbying officials and ministers for two companies paying him more than £100,000 a year.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman on Friday repeatedly refused to rule out Paterson being appointed to the House of Lords.

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Speaking to journalists at COP26, Scotland’s First Minister – who called the attempts to save Paterson from suspension “classic corruption” – said: “It would be grotesque and deeply offensive that somebody who had been found to breach standards by an independent process of investigation, who ended up resigning from the Commons albeit through a messy process, ended up being put back into politics through the House of Lords.

“But I say that as someone who is opposed to unelected peers sitting in the House of Lords.”

While Paterson continues to deny wrongdoing, the scandal which erupted around him has seen further accusations of sleaze and corruption engulf Boris Johnson’s government once again.

The Prime Minister's spokesperson refused to say on the record whether Johnson had offered Paterson a peerage yesterday, or if he plans to give him one in the future.

It has also been reported that Tory MPs were told they would “lose funding for their constituency” if they didn’t vote with the UK Government to protect Paterson.

The National: Pete Wishart

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Commenting, SNP MP Pete Wishart (above) said: “Just like they did with Covid contracts, it seems the Tories will hand out peerages like sweeties to people - regardless of what they have done as long as they are one of their own.

“It is an utter disgrace that the Prime Minister failed to rule out a peerage for an MP who was found to have broken important lobbying rules - and looks to be considering rewarding bad behaviour with a cushy £300-a-day seat in the unelected and undemocratic House of Lords.”