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.”