Boris Johnson said he was “very sad” about Owen Paterson’s decision to step down as a MP.
The senior Tory’s resignation on Thursday came after the prime minister turned to allow a re-vote on the former minister’s suspension for an alleged breach of lobbying rules.
The Prime Minister praised the “outstanding career of the outgoing MP” in which he was a “powerful Brexit advocate”.
She said: “I am very sad that Parliament will lose the services of Owen Paterson, who has been a friend and colleague of mine for decades.
“He has had a remarkable career, served in two cabinet positions and, most importantly, a voice for freedom – for free markets and free trade and free societies – and he was an early and powerful advocate of Brexit.
“I know this must have been a very difficult decision, but I can understand why he chose to put his family first after the tragic circumstances in which he lost his beloved wife, Rose.”
Mr Paterson resigned after the Prime Minister was forced to withdraw after preventing his immediate suspension through a review of the entire disciplinary system.
Mr Johnson had supported an attempt by Mr Paterson’s allies to review the sanction until the opposition parties refused to sit on a “corrupt” Tory-led committee charged with reviewing it.
Government officials worked to postpone a vote on a six-week suspension for Mr Paterson after it was discovered that he had repeatedly lobbied ministers and officials for two companies that paid him more than £ 100,000 a year.
But instead of facing a likely defeat, Mr Paterson said he made the “painful decision” to step down as MP for North Shropshire, which sparked a by-election after a high profile Sleaze series.
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