Partygate: Rishi Sunak refuses to say if he will approve damning report
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Several of the former prime minister’s staunch allies appeared to boycott the vote and “pious speeches” of the hours-long debate on Monday evening, as cross-party MPs lined up to condemn Mr Johnson and praise the privileges committee for their findings.
Ahead of the vote, which saw 354 MPs vote in favour of denying Mr Johnson a former member’s pass to parliament and just seven against, former prime minister Theresa May was among those scathing in her assessment of her successor in No 10, who she said had been “found wanting”.
The committee’s chair Harriet Harman warned that if left “unchecked”, the ex-PM’s “dishonesty” would have “contaminated the whole of government”, while her Labour colleague Dame Angela Eagle described his resignation last week as the “narcissistic howl of a man child who won’t see that he only has himself to blame”.
We’re pausing our live coverage of the Partygate scandal for now but keep checking independent.co.uk for the latest updates.
Sam Rkaina20 June 2023 09:41
Written statements due in Commons today
Here are the written ministerial statements due to be made in the Commons on Tuesday:
- Secretary of State for Business and Trade: India Trade Negotiations: Update.
- Secretary of State for Defence: Defence Infrastructure Update.
- Secretary of State for Health and Social Care: Update on volume price promotion restrictions.
- Secretary of State for the Home Department: HMICFRS Inspection Report: An inspection of the National Crime Agency’s effectiveness at dealing with corruption.
Matt Mathers20 June 2023 09:34
Shaun Bailey could be stripped of peerage if found guilty of lockdown breach – cabinet minister
A cabinet minister has suggested former Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey could have his peerage scrutinised if the police take action over a lockdown party.
Work and pensions secretary Mel Stride told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The Metropolitan Police are ‘looking into’ the events… They will no doubt come to their conclusions.
“There are then mechanisms involving the Forfeiture Committee that can lead to changes to honours that have been given in the past. But I don’t want to start pre-judging that process.”
Matt Mathers20 June 2023 09:06
Sunak was right to dodge vote on Partygate report – cabinet minister
Rishi Sunak was right not to vote on the Partygate report that concluded Boris Johnson lied to parliament, a cabinet minister has said.
Mel Stride, the work and pensions secretary, said he hoped that the former prime minister and his senior colleages could “row together” now the investigation has finished.
He told Times Radio he backed the Privileges Committee’s findings that the former prime minister lied to MPs but said he felt “quite uneasy” with the 90-day suspension recommended so decided to abstain.
“I think the committee conducted itself with absolute integrity, I totally accept its findings in terms of wrongdoing,” he said, praising its “diligence”.
But he said that Rishi Sunak was right not to vote either way, adding that the Prime Minister had been “extremely busy” on Monday.
“I think he took the position before the vote, which I think is the right decision, which is to not put his oar into the water on this, for fear of being seen perhaps to pressurise people one way or another,” Mr Stride said.
“I do know he was extremely busy yesterday, I know he saw the Swedish prime minister and other things, long-standing engagements and so on.”
He acknowledged it had been a “difficult period”, adding: “My hope is that Boris Johnson, the current Cabinet – they are very united incidentally behind those priorities – that we can all row together now and focus on what people really care about.”
Matt Mathers20 June 2023 08:30
Give back your peerage, senior Tory tells Shaun Bailey
A senior Conservative has called on former Tory London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey to consider handing back the peerage given to him by Boris Johnson.
Amid anger over a mid-lockdown party at Tory headquarters attended by Mr Bailey, Tobias Ellwood told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there are “big questions” around his peerage.
“Absolutely he needs to consider that, if I’m frank,” Mr Ellwood added.
He said that Rishi Sunak should “grasp” the issue of peerages, adding: “You can’t simply have prime ministers stuffing the Lords with their friends.”
Mr Ellwood added: “If there’s anything to come of this I really encourage Mr Sunak to now draw a line under Boris Johnson’s tenure and indeed influence over the parliamentary party.
“There’s an opportunity now for the Prime Minister to draw a line, to continue the progress that he’s already made, further stamp his personality by dealing and confronting things like this directly.”
Matt Mathers20 June 2023 08:07
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live politics coverage.
We’ll have all the reaction to MPs voting through the privileges committee’s report which concluded that Boris Johnson lied to parliament over Partygate.
Stay tuned for the latest updates on this story and others from Westminster and elsewhere.
Matt Mathers20 June 2023 08:04
We’re going pause updates on the blog for tonight, thanks for following here.
If you’d like to read back on how the day’s as we reported them, you can keep scrolling to read our updates below.
Andy Gregory19 June 2023 23:01
Which Tory MPs abstained?
While 118 Tory MPs voted in favour of the report, there were 225 who did not cast a vote.
Among them were Boris Johnson’s former Cabinet ministers such as Nadine Dorries, Michelle Donelan, Oliver Dowden, Michael Gove and George Eustice.
Others for whom no vote was recorded included Lee Anderson, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Victoria Atkins, Steve Barclay, Jake Berry and Liz Truss.
Andy Gregory19 June 2023 22:42
How did the evening unfold?
In a further humiliation for Boris Johnson, MPs have voted overwhelmingly to strip him of his former member’s pass to parliament, as they upheld the privileges committee’s findings that he repeatedly lied to parliament.
While a large number of Conservatives abstained, there were some 118 Tory MPs among the 354 who voted to uphold the committee’s “damning” report – versus just seven who voted against it.
With his successor Rishi Sunak accused of “running scared” with his absence during the debate, Commons leader Penny Mordaunt kicked off proceedings at 4:30pm by stating her intention to endorse the report, describing parliamentary rules as “obligations we have to one another, to this place and to those that sent us here”.
Former PM Theresa May was among other senior Tories to do the same, as she accused her successor of being “found wanting” in a scathing speech to MPs, who she called on to back the report to help “restore faith in our parliamentary democracy”.
Of the few to speak in defence of the PM, loyalist Jacob Rees-Mogg compared the privileges committee to “communist China”, and said the move to strip Mr Johnson of his parliamentary pass was going “from the vindictive to the ridiculous”.
His attempt to cast doubt over committee chair Harriet Harman’s impartiality drew what one MP could be heard describing as a “mic drop” moment in response, as the Mother of the House replied that the government had told her it had confidence in her leadership, saying: “I was assured that I should continue the work … and so I did just that.”
While Mr Johnson himself was not among those spotted in the viewing gallery – in contrast with Lord of the Rings actor Sir Ian McKellen, who was spotted on its benches – the ex-PM was reported to hit out at the “biased and wilfully ignorant” committee in a simultaneous speech to the International Democratic Union, and to claim that there’s “always another innings”.
Those celebrating the results of the vote, however, which came after some five hours of debate, appeared to believe otherwise, with Labour MP Sir Chris Bryant telling The Independent: “It feels like justice takes a long time to turn the bend – finally, chickens are coming home to roost.”
Andy Gregory19 June 2023 22:33
Vote was triggered by Labour
The shouts of “no, no, no” just before Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle ordered a vote earlier came from Labour chief whip Alan Campbell, according to the BBC.
The whip reportedly positioned himself right next to Sir Lindsay to object when the speaker whether MPs supported the report, thus triggering the vote.
Andy Gregory19 June 2023 22:18