Boris Johnson to face Commons vote on whether he misled Parliament

12/07/2021. London, United Kingdom. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson chairs a Covid-19 press conference with Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty in 9 Downing Street on the ease of lockdown restrictions on July 19th 2021. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

Boris Johnson will face a vote in the House of Commons this week on whether he intentionally misled Parliament over Partygate, it has been decided.

The Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, this afternoon approved a motion by Labour to hold a vote on the matter.

This means that MPs will hold a debate on Thursday and be given the opportunity to vote on whether the Prime Minister misled them when he said in December that all Covid rules had been followed.

The speaker told MPs: “It is not for me to police the ministerial code, I have no jurisdiction over the ministerial code even though a lot of people seem to think I have. It is not the case.

07/05/2020. London, United Kingdom. Prime Minister Boris Johnson joins the country in the ‘Clap for our Carers’ to show appreciation for the NHS and Key Workers, outside 10 Downing Street. / Picture by Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street.

“Secondly, it is not for me to determine whether or not the Prime Minister has committed a contempt. My role is to decide whether there is an arguable case to be examined.

“Having considered the issue, having taken advice from the clerks of the House, I’ve decided that this is a matter that I should allow the precedence accorded to the issue of privilege.

“Therefore, (Sir Keir Starmer) may table a motion for debate on Thursday.”

The decision was announced shortly before the Prime Minister made a statement in which he is expected to apologise for his actions and state he has no intention of resigning.

The ministerial code states that if a minister intentionally misleads the house they must resign.

If the vote is successful, the case will be referred to the Parliamentary Privilege Committee, who could find him in contempt.

Read more: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to be fined over lockdown parties

The Prime Minister has been accused of lying about breaking rules after he was fined by the Metropolitan Police for attending a birthday party that was against his own Covid safety restrictions.

Fines were also given out to his wife and the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and reports published in The Times over the weekend suggest more are still to come.

It is unlikely that the vote will go in Labour’s favour, given the Conservatives huge majority in the House of Commons, however, it’s hoped the motion will apply pressure on those Tories who initially spoke out in January to publicly back that position for their constituents.

Last week, journalists at both The Guardian and The Daily Mail reported there had been ‘much talk’ in Westminster of the Chancellor resigning after he was fined by police – but that he had been talked out of it as it would have put pressure on the PM to do the same.

Lord Peter Hennessy, a historian, cross bench peer and expert on the history of government has been widely quoted after claiming the Prime Mister has ‘shredded’ the ministerial code through his actions.

He told  BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House: “The Queen’s first minister is now beyond doubt a rogue prime minister, unworthy of her, her parliament, her people, and her kingdom.

“I cannot remember a day when I’ve been more fearful for the wellbeing of the constitution,”

Standing up in the House of Lords last week, he added: “The prime minister sealed his place in British history as the first law-breaker to have occupied the premiership – an office he has sullied like no other, turning it into an adventure playground for one man’s narcissistic vanity.

Image: Flickr

“Boris Johnson has broken the law, misled parliament, and has, in effect, shredded the ministerial code, which is a crucial part of the spinal cord of the constitution.”

A Labour source said: “Any Conservative MP considering voting to block this investigation would be voting for a cover up. They should reflect on the mess they got themselves into over Owen Paterson before falling into line.”

Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said: “The British public have declared Boris Johnson a liar. Now it’s time for Parliament to do the same.

“The country cannot afford a Prime Minister who breaks the law and lies about it, especially when families are facing a cost-of-living crisis.

“Johnson has taken the British people for fools for far too long, and it’s time for Conservative MPs to show where they stand. They must do their patriotic duty and kick Boris Johnson out of Downing Street once and for all.”

Feature image – Flickr

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