COMMONS leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed he “encouraged” Boris Johnson to defend Owen Paterson in the Tory sleaze row.

The top Tory said that he thought it was “the right thing to do” to bring in a review of standards procedures to prevent Paterson’s suspension from parliament.

But, the UK Government was forced into a screaching U-turn less than 24 hours after the vote on reviewing the disciplinary system caused a huge public backlash.

Rees-Mogg made the comments on Conservative Home’s Moggcast, where the Tory MP speaks at length every two weeks.

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It comes as Number 10 is pushing a fresh parliamentary motion in the House of Commons today, which admits Paterson was guilty of breaching lobbying rules and will scrap the bid to replace the standards committee with one which has a Tory majority.

In the episode released on Tuesday morning, Rees-Mogg appeared to take responsibility for the scandal, and watered down Johnson’s involvement.

He told the Moggcast: "I must take my share of responsibility for this, I thought it was the right thing to do.

"I encouraged the Prime Minister to go down this route and I was wrong, I made a mistake."

The National:

Rees-Mogg (pictured) said he'd felt sorry for Paterson, who lost his wife Rose to suicide, and that he "had been punished enough".

He said he hoped the motion would be seen as "merciful" but voters saw it instead as "self-serving".

He added: "That has not been helpful to government and to parliament, and that's why it will be reversed."

Johnson and Rees-Mogg will seek to draw a line under the Paterson row in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.

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The first attempt to endorse the original Commons standards watchdog’s report on Paterson’s “egregious” breach of lobbying rules was foiled on Monday night by a Tory backbencher.

The motion, which will bring in the government’s U-turn over the sleaze row, will now be subject to a debate and vote in the Commons.

The vote will aim to rescind the “Leadsom amendment” which had intended to establish a review of MP standards investigation processes.

The National:

Rees-Mogg struggled to get the motion to pass in the Commons on Monday night

The amendment was initially intended to delay Paterson’s 30-day suspension for breaking lobbying rules. Two companies paid him more than £100,000 per year to lobby ministers and officials on their behalf.

The motion will also endorse the standards committee report which would have brought in the suspension if he had remained an MP.

Paterson resigned after the Government’s U-turn.

The issue will now be subject to a one-hour debate after Tory MP Sir Christopher Hope objected to settling the matter on Monday evening, as the motion can only be passed unanimously by MPs.

We previously told how the SNP called for Rees-Mogg to resign over his role in the scandal.