Boris Johnson's bid to quietly U-turn on his controversial bid to rip up standards rules has been blocked after a Tory backbencher cried "object".
Ministers had tried to avoid a debate on Tory sleaze by hoping MPs would nod through a late-night motion in the Commons to reverse reforms, which met with widespread public outrage.
But chaos ensued as a backbencher, thought to be veteran Tory backbencher Sir Christopher Chope, cried "object" when deputy speaker Nigel Evans moved the motion.
It means the motion could not go through and the Prime Minister faces having to reschedule a vote on the climbdown - probably with a lengthy debate - on Tuesday.
The motion aimed to rescind the so-called Leadsom amendment, which looked to establish a review of the MPs standards investigation process and delay Owen Paterson’s suspension for breaking lobbying rules.
Labour's shadow leader of the Commons Thangam Debbonaire called the move "astonishing", adding: "“You couldn’t make it up.
"Two weeks ago the Prime Minister forced Tory MPs to tear up the rules on Standards just to protect one of their own. Now they can't even clear up their own mess.
"Tonight’s farce is of the Tories’ own making and serves Boris Johnson right for trying to sneak a u-turn out at night rather than do the decent thing and come to the House to apologise for the Tory sleaze scandal.
"At the moment, it doesn’t look like the Tories could organise a drinks party in a brewery. The Prime Minister needs to get a grip.”
The motion also sought to endorse the report which would have suspended former Conservative minister Mr Paterson from Parliament for 30 days if he had remained an MP.
He quit as MP for North Shropshire following the botched attempt by the Government to delay his suspension.
Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said: "This is a total farce. First, the Government scheduled this motion so there would be no chance for debate. Now, the motion hasn’t passed. It’s insulting that, after two weeks of this scandal, the Government couldn’t even perform their sleaze U-turn successfully. This tells you all you need to know about the state of the Conservative Party.
"It’s vital that the Government brings this back before MPs as soon as possible. Every day that goes by without this being repealed, the more embarrassing this whole affair becomes. We must move forward."
"By cutting off the debate and vote on MP standards, Boris Johnson has unwittingly drawn further scrutiny of the sleaze, corruption and cronyism engulfing his Tory government."
The news piles pressure on the Government as it follows days of front pages detailing fresh allegations of Tory sleaze, overshadowing the entire COP26 summit on climate change.