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Jokers fill social media with memes after Boris Johnson’s sudden change of heart over Owen Paterson

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The government has been torn apart online after a screeching U-turn on overhauling the standards system and getting Tory MP Owen Paterson off the hook.

Social media users mocked ministers after Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg was deployed to confirm they had backtracked in the wake of furious opposition.

Some were furious at the move and blasted the Tories for the ‘stupid’ decision to hold a vote yesterday in the first place.

But others subjected the ruling party to brutal mockery, with one asking if people are suffering from whiplash from the constant U-turns.

The PM watered down the plans to overhaul the disciplinary process for MPs and review Mr Paterson’s alleged breach of the rules after outrage this morning.

Mr Rees-Mogg said he would seek ‘cross-party’ changes to the system after Labour and other opposition parties refused to take part in a ‘corrupt committee’.

He suggested any changes may not ‘apply retrospectively’ after the Government came under intense criticism for blocking Mr Paterson’s immediate suspension.

Social media users mocked ministers after Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured today) was deployed to confirm they had backtracked in the wake of furious opposition

Social media users mocked ministers after Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured today) was deployed to confirm they had backtracked in the wake of furious opposition

Boris Johnson

Owen Paterson

Owen Paterson (right) was among the Tory MPs who voted yesterday block his own suspension after Boris Johnson (left) issued orders 

Social media users were unforgiving online and panned the government for the embarrassing volte-face.

One wrote: ‘Boris Johnson wakes up with yet another red wine hangover and makes the 48th U-Turn of his premiership.’

Another posted: ‘A government U-turn after public backlash to another stupid decision.’

A man put: ‘Put your hands up, bend your knees bounce around in a circle, get down with me Come on, come on, it’s not hard to learn Come on, come on, it’s called the U-Turn…’

And another said: ‘Arriving at Platform 1: the predicted Tory U-turn to Embarrassment, Shame, and Corruption.

‘This train of misery will decouple at Owen Paterson, with the rear portion continuing to Egregious Breach.’

One put: ‘Was trying to do some training on a call, my phone went off and I saw the word u-turn, and then burst in to tears of laughter.’

And one more added: ‘So with this latest U-Turn, does this mean the Tory party are giving up on sleaze?’

Mr Rees-Mogg’s comments to MPs came as an ethics adviser to the PM described Wednesday’s votes as a ‘very serious and damaging moment for Parliament’.

Lord Evans, chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said plans for a Tory-led review was ‘deeply at odds with the best traditions of British democracy’.

The Commons Leader recognised standards must be reformed on a cross-party basis as he acknowledged ‘that is clearly not the case’ with the proposals.

He said: ‘While there is a very strong feeling on both sides of the House that there is a need for an appeals process, there is equally a strong feeling that this should not be based on a single case or apply retrospectively.

‘I fear last night’s debate conflated an individual case with the general concern. This link needs to be broken.

‘Therefore I and others will be looking to work on a cross-party basis to achieve improvements in our system for future cases.

‘We will bring forward more detailed proposals once there have been cross-party discussions.’

Mr Rees-Mogg's comments to MPs came as an ethics adviser to the PM described Wednesday's votes as a 'very serious and damaging moment for Parliament'

Mr Rees-Mogg’s comments to MPs came as an ethics adviser to the PM described Wednesday’s votes as a ‘very serious and damaging moment for Parliament’

Owen Paterson was found to have committed an 'egregious' breach of standards rules as he lobbied for two companies paying him more than £100,000 per year. Mr Paterson, pictured with his late wife Rose, claimed the 'biased' way the standards inquiry was carried out was a major factor in her suicide last year

Owen Paterson was found to have committed an ‘egregious’ breach of standards rules as he lobbied for two companies paying him more than £100,000 per year. Mr Paterson, pictured with his late wife Rose, claimed the ‘biased’ way the standards inquiry was carried out was a major factor in her suicide last year

A defiant Kathryn Stone (pictured) has indicated she will stay on as the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards for another year, despite the pressure from Mr Paterson’s camp

Despite his measured tone, there were jeers from across the House and social media users continued to pile on the U-turn.

One person joked: ‘Another U-turn? Are you a journalist following British politics? Speak to a specialist whiplash lawyer today!’

Another male user said online: ‘Government U-turn when they realise public don’t like crooks.’

A Labour councillor wrote: ‘Getting Jacob Rees-Mogg; the man who embodies old school tie elitism to announce all of this; its so out of touch you can’t even begin.

‘U-turn imminent but the whole affair looks like the same old Tory elites; one rule for them and another for everyone else.’

Chris Boyd posted on his Twitter account on Thursday morning: ‘Tfw you see the latest tory u-turn.’

The move means a motion on suspending Mr Paterson for 30 days for lobbying rule breaches is now set to be brought before the House again.

The PM had smashed convention by ordering his party to oppose the conclusions of the standards watchdog.

But the amendment ‘pausing’ the process and calling for a reform of the sleaze rules only passed as he was hit with a major revolt from backbenchers.

The block sparked chaos and left the existing system for regulating MPs’ behaviour in tatters as Opposition parties vowed to boycott plans to agree a new one.

Mr Paterson was found to have committed an ‘egregious’ breach of standards rules by directly advocating for two companies from which he pocketed some £500,000.

He denies wrongdoing, saying he would do it all again, and called for standards commissioner Kathryn Stone to resign.

This was endorsed during media rounds by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng just hours before the volte-face.

A government source told MailOnline of Mr Paterson: ‘He’s going to end up being suspended.’

A senior Tory said: ‘There will be a lot of angry MPs who gave way and voted for the Government. Marched up to the top of the hill…’

Standards committee chair Chris Bryant, a Labour MP, warned retrospectively changing the system when an ally was under threat was ‘what they do in Russia’.

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