Senior Tory MPs last night launched a last-ditch attempt to spare Owen Paterson from a 30-day Commons suspension for an ‘egregious’ breach of lobbying rules. 

Allies of the ex minister will today refuse the findings of the anti-sleaze monitordog’s report. Instead, they will call for reform. 

Former business secretary Andrea Leadsom has tabled a parliamentary amendment that would see Mr Paterson’s potential suspension paused pending a review. 

The Leadsom amendment will be supported by Tory whips when it goes to the ballot today. Last night, a Government source said the amendment would get the PM’s backing if it is selected.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards last week found Mr Paterson guilty of an ‘egregious case of paid advocacy’ on behalf of two companies, Randox and Lynn’s Country Foods, for which he was acting as a consultant. 

Owen Paterson, pictured with his late wife Rose, claimed the ¿biased¿ way the inquiry was carried out was a major factor in her suicide last year.

Owen Paterson, pictured with his late wife Rose, claimed the ‘biased’ way the inquiry was carried out was a major factor in her suicide last year.

Commissioner Kathryn Stone issued a damning recommendation to Mr Paterson, recommending that he be suspended for a period of 30 days. This could trigger a byelection in his North Shropshire constituent. 

Mr Paterson has maintained his innocence and claimed the ‘biased’ way the inquiry was carried out was a major factor in the suicide of his wife Rose last year.

Since then, his allies have called for changes to the system to allow politicians to appeal. 

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle will select the Leadsom amendment for a vote. 

It was revealed last night that Government whips would tell Tory MPs that they would support the amendment which would effectively result in the dissolution of the standards watchdog. 

It was even suggested that this could lead to Miss Stone’s resignation. Sir Lindsay is reportedly concerned that overturning the Commissioner’s recommendations risks bringing the House into disrepute. 

But his predecessor, John Bercow, has said the process leading to the ban was ‘indefensible’ and was not ‘conducted in accordance with natural justice’. 

In a letter to Mr Paterson, Mr Bercow said: ‘You have experienced a protracted, Kafkaesque process.’ 

And he said it was ‘wrong and indefensible, 14 months after launching her investigation, that [Miss Stone] should write her first memorandum to you to announce that she considers you guilty of transgressions when she has not troubled to interview you’, according to The Times. 

Yesterday, Jacob Rees Mogg, Commons Leader, questioned the fairness and integrity of a probe into Mr Paterson. He expressed sympathy for the MP’s claim that the Commissioner did not speak to 17 witnesses who came forward to support him, describing that decision as ‘interesting’. 

He told his ConservativeHome podcast: ‘It is always very important that systems appear to be fair, and therefore if somebody has witnesses, it would normally appear to be fair that those witnesses should be heard. 

‘The Commissioner in her report that was adopted… said the witnesses weren’t needed because their evidence they gave wasn’t relevant to the inquiry. 

‘And that is an interesting view to come to, because other people might say: “How do you know whether it was relevant to the inquiry until you’ve taken their evidence and have found out the precise context of how things were done?”’ 

In a damning report, Commissioner Kathryn Stone recommended Owen Paterson should be suspended for 30 days, which could trigger a by-election in his North Shropshire constituency.

In a damning review, Commissioner Kathryn Stone recommended Paterson’s suspension for 30 days. This could trigger a byelection in his North Shropshire constituent.

Labour’s shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire said: ‘The amendment tabled undermines the independent standards process including the Commissioner and the committee. 

‘The cross-party standards committee, including four Tory MPs, endorsed the Commissioner’s 30-day sanction for a breach of the rule around paid advocacy. 

‘If the Government votes through this amendment, it sends a message to the public that Tory MPs are above the rules and just don’t care.’ 

Downing Street declined to comment on whether Boris Johnson considered the report flawed, as Mr Paterson et al claimed. 

The Commissioner found that Mr Paterson made three attempts to the Food Standards Agency in November 2016 and November 2017, in violation of the ban against paid advocacy. 

He was also found guilty of four approaches to Ministers at the Department for International Development in relation to the company and blood-testing technology between October 2016 & January 2017. 

And Mr Paterson was found to have made seven approaches to the FSA between November 2017 and July 2018 relating to Lynn’s Country Foods. 

The Commissioner further found that he failed to declare his interest as a paid consultant to Lynn’s Country Foods in four emails to FSA officials and that he used his parliamentary office for business meetings with his clients on 16 occasions between October 2016 and February 2020. 

He also sent two letters relating to his business interests on Commons headed notepaper – the only breach of the rules which he accepted.