MURDO Fraser has criticised Boris Johnson's Government over the sleaze row as divisions grow between the Conservatives in Scotland and the party at Westminster

The senior Tory MSP hit out this morning as the Prime Minister returned to Glasgow for COP26 hoping to move on from the allegations engulfing the party.

Fraser is the first senior figure in the party north of the Border to speak out clearly and publicly on the issue which he did so after West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie announced he was quitting as a vice-chair of the Conservatives.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme today Fraser was asked if Bowie was embarrassed by the situation.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson booed as he arrives at Glasgow Central train station

Tory MPs were last week whipped to vote to review standards' rules in a move seen as an attempt to protect senior Conservative MP Owen Paterson from a 30 day suspension from the Commons after he breached lobbying procedures. But Johnson abandoned the review 24 hours later after a public outcry.

"Well, I haven't spoken to Andrew since I heard that news. I have seen what your correspondent said about his view on the matter and he denies that. You would really have to ask him that," Fraser told the BBC.

He was then asked if he thought the Government had handled the situation well.

Fraser replied: "No of course the Government didn't handle it well. You can tell from the reaction there has been from quite a number of MPs at Westminster they are deeply unhappy about the way this was handled and they are right to be, because it was not handled well."

READ MORE: MP Andrew Bowie quits as vice-chair of Conservative Party

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, who is MP for Moray, along with Scottish Secretary Alister Jack did not vote for the amendment to change the rules last week.

Ross avoided the controversial vote, in which four of his Scottish Tory colleagues sided with Boris Johnson.

But in the wake of the climbdown last Thursday, Ross said the “right decision has now been reached”.

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Paterson subsequently announced his resignation as MP for North Shropshire on Thursday afternoon blaming the "cruel world of politics".

Johnson is facing growing censure and was mocked by opposition parties for visiting a hospital on Monday to avoid answering questions in the Commons about the saga which has grown into a wider controversy over MPs holding second jobs and party donors exerting influence and gaining peerages.

On BBC's GMS this morning Fraser was also pressed on claims over the former Conservative Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.

The backbench Tory MP has been referred by Labour to the Commons standards commissioner after The Times reported the practising barrister used his MP office in September to participate remotely to advise the British Virgin Islands over a corruption probe launched by the Foreign Office.

Sir Geoffrey Cox said he does not believe he has breached parliamentary rules after a video emerged appearing to show him undertaking external work from his Westminster office.

The QC, in a statement issued on his website, defended his decision to work with the islands - offering legal advice that could earn him more than £1 million this year on top of his £81,900 MP salary - and said he would co-operate with any investigation into his conduct.

Fraser was asked if he thought it was legitimate for the former attorney general to earn hundreds of thousands of pounds advising the British Virgin Islands in a corruption probe. He pointed to the complaint made against him and was then pressed if he thought it was legitimate for Cox to earn that amount of money from a second job.

"That is a broader issue. I think the question is whether it is legitimate for politicians to have a second job and I think in some circumstances it is," said Fraser.

Bowie, tipped as a rising star, announced this morning he was stepping back from his party role, publicly insisting he wants to focus on his constituency, but reportedly told friends he is "unable to support the government" in the wake of the Paterson debacle.