The National:

When the U-turn came, it was as screeching as it was chaotic.

On Wednesday, in a disgraceful display of pomposity and arrogance, Jacob Rees-Mogg sought to defend Owen Paterson’s cash-for-questions rule breaking.

He rubbished the unanimous conclusion reached by the standards committee.

He said the system that had found his friend guilty of engaging in paid advocacy wasn’t fit for purpose.

To cries of "shame" from opposition MPs, he announced that a new committee should be set up to examine rule-breaking MPs, to ensure that "natural justice" could be done in Owen Paterson’s case and in the future.

He batted away any suggestion that the government was acting in bad faith.

READ MORE: Owen Paterson is insignificant to the Tories – here's what this is really about

Any MP who pointed out that Boris Johnson seems willing to debase democratic norms to get what he wants was labelled as "partisan" by Jacob Rees-Mogg.

But karma always delivers.

On Thursday, it was up to him to announce that the Government had had a sudden change of heart.

It took less than 24 hours for the Government to scrap its dodgy plan to "reform" the standards committee system - a plan which would have seen Owen Paterson’s 30-day suspension delayed or overturned.

It was a perfect storm that carried Jacob Rees-Mogg into the chamber to announce the U-turn on Thursday morning.

The National: Perhaps Leader of House Jacob Rees-Mogg could tell us what he thought the phrase ‘yellow peril’ meant

Despite the initial framing from some high profile journalists - who had prematurely declared the Government’s blatant corruption as a "Westminster village story" - it was clear that this was anything but.

After that putrid debate and vote, the public anger was palpable.

You could almost see it developing in real time.

What started as a buoyant, aren’t-we-so-clever display of Tory power quickly turned sour.

Chris Bryant, the chairman of the committee on standards, gave a devastating speech laying out the facts of Owen Paterson’s case and the extent of his "egregious" rule-breaking.

His speech was heard in absolute silence. He provided a fact-checking service to the Government’s outlandish claims about what had led to Owen Paterson being found in breach of parliamentary standards rules.

READ MORE: These are the MPs facing investigations into sleaze at Westminster

If the Tories didn’t realise that they were heading down the wrong path at that point, they must have surely realised when so many of their own MPs defied the three-line whip to abstain or vote against the Government-backed amendment.

Immediately after the vote, journalists started to report on what they were being told by Tory MPs. Their inboxes were already filling up. Their constituents were angry. This was not, as they had so cynically calculated, a "bubble issue".

Opposition parties refused to give legitimacy for the soon-to-be established kangaroo committee and said their MPs wouldn’t sit on it.

And then there were the front pages.

Even the Daily Mail was angry at the government’s shady antics.

So when Jacob Rees-Mogg got up at Business Questions on Thursday to say that they might have made a wee mistake, surprise wasn’t as keenly felt as relief.

The National:

In what surely must be a contender for the understatement of the year, Rees-Mogg said he was worried that tying Owen Paterson’s (above) case to wider parliamentary reform might send out the wrong message.

And now Owen Paterson has said that he will stand down as an MP. There will be a by-election.

If Boris Johnson hadn’t instructed his party to try and game the system, Owen Paterson might have got off with only a 30-day suspension from the House.

There’s that karma in action again.

This shoddy episode tells us everything we need to know about the UK Government.

Boris Johnson has led his party into the gutter.

The Government’s U-turn and Owen Paterson’s subsequent announcement don’t change the fact that he was willing to undermine parliamentary process to help out his pal.

He’d rather excuse corruption than abide by the rules that others are expected to.

Could that be because he is worried he’ll have a standards reckoning of his own to deal with in the not too distant future?

On Wednesday, the Government was warned about the dangerous precedent they were about to set. Don’t forget that, before the public outrage and negative headlines, they didn’t care a jot.

It might have been an unforced error which ended in abject humiliation for the Tory government, but that doesn’t detract from how utterly sinister it was and still is.

Some have said that the last few days have shown that Tory sleaze is back. Did it ever really go away?

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