AN MP has said Owen’s Paterson’s resignation was the “right decision”, less than 24 hours after backing plans to rip up parliament’s standards system.

Mr Paterson, who resigned this afternoon, faced a six-week suspension after parliament’s existing standards committee found he had breached lobbying rules on behalf of two companies, which between them were paying him more than £100,000 a year.

Last night MPs voted to back an amendment to pause Paterson’s case and set up an independent appeals body, in a whipped vote. 

But the Government did a U-turn this morning after Labour and other opposition parties said they would boycott the new committee.

A spokesman for Boris Johnson said the PM had "recognised the strength of feeling on all sides of the House around the issue and changed his mind when it became clear that a cross-party consensus on the changes was not possible".

Read more: How North East MPs voted in Owen Paterson suspension row

The amendment proposed by Andrea Leadsom passed last night by 18 votes after 13 Tory MPs opposed it and 38 abstained.

Mr Paterson had insisted he was innocent.

Darlington MP Peter Gibson, who voted to back the amendment, said this afternoon it was the right decision for Mr Paterson to resign and added that he believed parliamentary procedures do need to be reformed to allow a right of appeal. 

Defending his vote yesterday, he said: “Yesterday’s vote was on a change to our procedures to give better reflection to principles of natural justice, evidence, and rights of appeal.

The Northern Echo:

Read more: Owen Paterson resigns: What happens next

“The same things that everyone should be able to expect. As a lawyer and a person who believes in those principles that is why I voted as I did for the change to our procedures which do need reform.”

Hartlepool MP Jill Mortimer and Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake were among the Tory rebels.

Ms Mortimer declined to speak to the Northern Echo today.

The Northern Echo:

Last night, in a message to colleagues, she was reported as describing it as a "colossal misjudgement."

She said: “This was a colossal misjudgement; It should not have been whipped. You should have been allowed to vote with your conscience.”

Mr Hollinrake said: “What concerns me most about Andrea Leadsom’s amendment is public perception that we are above the law. I’m not against a revision of the rules, but I am very much against, effectively, a retrospective changing of the rules.   

“I did, of course, listen carefully to the debate, but I felt I would have had difficulty in supporting this amendment in the lobbies and that is why I voted against it.”

What have Labour MPs been saying?

Speaking this morning, Labour MPs Alex Cunningham, who represents Stockton North, and Mary Foy, the MP for Durham, criticised the Government’s actions last night and accused the Conservatives of trying to re-write the rules. 

Mr Cunningham said:  “This month the independent standards process found that a Conservative Member of Parliament broke the rules on paid lobbying. I voted to uphold both this independent judgement and the penalty of 30 days suspension for the Member in question.

“What we saw yesterday was a blatant attempt by the Tories to rig the system in order to protect one of their own from punishment and to effectively remove any independent standards body from Parliament. Once again, they have shown it is one rule for them and another for everyone else. The Prime Minister ignores the rules when its suits him and the Conservative Party rewrite the rules when they break them.

“This was an utterly disgraceful move from the Tory Government and shows clearly that we need an Independent Integrity and Ethics Commission, free from the political interference we saw from the Tories yesterday.

"We have heard today that the government looks to be planning a U-Turn – acknowledging they've conflated the need to change the system with an individual case. This they must do.”

Ms Foy said: “Members of Parliament are elected to serve their constituents, not their own pockets.

The Northern Echo:

“It is shameful that last night Conservative MPs obeyed the PM and voted to rip up the rule book because one of their own had been found guilty of accepting hundreds of thousands of pounds for access to the Government. This was an assault on our democracy. An act to wilfully make our parliament less accountable, less transparent to our constituents.

“Last night I said that the Conservatives were apologists for corruption. What they did was wrong then and they knew it as the filed through the voting lobbies. The public have every right to feel outraged that the Conservatives felt the rules should apply to others but not them.

“Yet another U-turn in the face of mounting public outcry shows the Government is out of touch and corrupt to the core. Britain deserves better.”