Jacob Rees-Mogg Should Resign Over Sleaze Row, Says Labour

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(Photo: Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
(Photo: Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Jacob Rees-Mogg should resign over the Owen Paterson sleaze row, Labour has said.

On Sunday a cabinet minister tried to dismiss the affair as a “storm in a teacup”.

But Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said the government had acted in a “corrupt” way and accused Boris Johnson of having “trashed” the reputation of Britain’s democracy.

The prime minister was forced U-turn over a plan to prevent Paterson, a former Tory minister, facing a 30-day Commons suspension for a serious breach of lobbying rules.

Paterson subsequently quit as an MP after the government abandoned an attempt to set up a Tory-dominated committee to re-examine his case and the wider Commons standards regime.

In an interview with Sky News on Sunday, shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire said Rees-Mogg should resign over his part in the row.

“If I was him, I’d be considering my position, that’s what I think he should do today,” she said. “I think his position is untenable.”

Watch: Govt: Misconduct vote needs to be split from Paterson case

Rees-Mogg had led the Commons debate for the government last week as Downing Street ordered Tory MPs to block Paterson being suspended. The Commons leader then had to appear in parliament the next day to announce the U-turn.

George Eustice, the environment secretary, tried to downplay the importance of the row over sleaze. “What we have seen is a Westminster storm in a teacup,” he told Sky.

In an interview with the BBC, Starmer said of Johnson: “Instead of upholding standards, he ordered his MPs to protect his mate and rip up the whole system – that is corrupt, it is contemptible and it’s not a one-off.

“Boris Johnson is the prime minister who is leading his troops through the sewer – he’s up to his neck in this.

“I don’t think you or anybody else could with a straight face say this prime minister is the man to clean up politics and to have the highest standards in public life because he is in the sewer with his troops.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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