A CONSERVATIVE MP has admitted a mixture of “anger and codeine” led to him calling former North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson a '****' to his face.

Bury South MP Christian Wakeford was reported to have sworn at Mr Paterson during voting in Parliament earlier this month.

The incident highlighted the strength of feeling among Conservative backbenchers – especially those in the so-called Red Wall, many of whom have smaller majorities – over the standards row that has engulfed Westminster for nearly three weeks.

Appearing on Times Radio, Mr Wakeford was asked if the report of him approaching Mr Paterson was correct.

“It is,” he said. “And it’s been a mixture of quite a lot of anger and codeine. I clearly have a broken ankle at the moment, it’s not the best mix.

“But I do think it went to show the, I guess, the quantum of anger in the party and that’s still high now.

“But the fact that after all that kind of marching up the top of the hill, not once was there gratitude from Owen, not once was there, kind of, apologies or repentance.

“The fact he went out to the press and said ‘I will do exactly the same again’. I think I’m not the only one who would have wanted to use language of that nature to him.”

Mr Paterson resigned as an MP following a saga where he was initially found to have breached lobbying rules, and it was recommended he be suspended from the Commons for 30 sitting days.

However, a Government-backed amendment – which Tory MPs were whipped to support – passed, which would have delayed the suspension and ordered a review into his case and the wider standards system.

The Government performed a U-turn after a widespread outcry, and Mr Paterson resigned.

But the row has ignited a fresh focus on standards and sleaze in politics, which Mr Wakeford said those with smaller majorities such as his felt more keenly.

Mr Wakeford, whose majority is just 402, told Times Radio: “I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t focus on, probably a bit more than some would, as to what happens on a daily basis.

“I’m acutely aware by just looking at my inbox.”

He said: “I do take a different view to colleagues on certain issues, or I am more prone to being slightly rebellious as opposed to some of my colleagues because I need to reflect the view of my constituents and hopefully do what I need to, to make sure I’m returned whenever that election is.”