21 April 2022 | NEWS
Members of Parliament have today voted to launch an investigation into whether or not the Prime Minister has misled Parliament, following comments he recently made at a meeting of the 1922 Committee regarding parties that were held during lockdown.
The Prime Minister has been accused by Opposition parties of misleading the House after he said that no Covid laws were broken over lockdown as the Government’s Partygate scandal emerged late last year.
However, he has repeatedly denied the allegations that he knowingly misled Parliament – an action that demands a resignation under the Ministerial Code.
Johnson had originally said that the “full facts” must be established before MPs vote on the Labour Party’s proposal to hold an investigation into whether he misled Parliament.
Ministers had stated that the vote should wait until the Metropolitan Police and Sue Gray, appointed by the Prime Minister to investigate whether any Covid laws were broken, have concluded their enquiries.
On Wednesday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said in the Commons: “Why does the Prime Minister think everybody else’s actions have consequences except his own?”
He also said that Johnson’s apology for breaking Covid laws after being handed a fixed penalty notice, along with his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, was “a mealy-mouthed apology when the cameras roll”.
Starmer pointed out that Allegra Stratton, Johnson’s former spokesperson, and former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, had both resigned over their actions, but despite calls for him to resign – including from Starmer – the Prime Minister has not.
But this afternoon, the House of Commons passed a motion submitted by Labour to open an investigation without a division – meaning that a full vote was not needed.
The Government had planned an amendment that would have sought to delay the investigation until a future unspecified date. However, it withdrew that amendment just before the debate began. There is a suggestion that the Prime Minister withdrew the amendment because he did not want to appear to be avoiding any scrutiny for his actions.
However, the Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, is to look into whether Starmer himself also misled Parliament after he allegedly misconstrued the Prime Minister’s comments at a private 1922 Committee meeting on Wednesday.
Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting has accused the Government of “kicking the can down the road”.
He said this morning: “Conservative MPs must decide today: are they standing with their voters, who are furious, or are they standing with their discredited, deceitful Prime Minister?”
Since receiving his fixed penalty notice, backbench heavyweights Steve Baker and Mark Harper have both expressed their wish for the Prime Minister to resign.
On Tuesday, Harper announced on Twitter that he had written a letter of no confidence in Johnson to Sir Graham Brady, Chair of the 1992 Commitee – and Baker has said today that the Prime Minister “should be long gone” and that “the gig is up”.