The prime minister is set to be investigated over whether whether he misled the House of Commons regarding lockdown-defying gatherings Downing Street.
Tonight, MPs voted for a Labour-led motion to allow the privileges panel to review the claims. Johnson had previously denied that rules had been broken at No 10.
Last week a No 10 spokesperson confirmed that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak were fined over the PM’s 2020 birthday gathering, stating: “on 19th June 2020 at the Cabinet Room 10 Downing Street between 1400 and 1500 you participated in a gathering of two or more people indoors in the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street”.
Scotland Yard has issued 50 fines so far for gatherings in Downing Street or Whitehall during lockdown restrictions.
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The Metropolitan Police has fined over 17,700 people for violating Covid laws during this pandemic. This includes 113 fines for holding a larger than 30 person gathering.
Last night, Speaker Lindsay Hoyle accepted a motion by the government to delay any decision about whether to refer Johnson the standards committee. This was in response to Partygate’s potential mislead the House.
However, less than half an hour before the debate on whether to investigate the prime minister misled parliament, the leader of the House, Mark Spencer, unexpectedly announced that Conservative MPs would be given a free vote on Labour’s unamended motion.
It is believed that the government had to abandon a three-line whip due to the possibility of mass abstentions by unhappy Conservative backbenchers as well as the threat of ministerial resignations.
The probe will not begin until Scotland Yard’s criminal investigation has concluded.
The prime minister, who is on a two-day visit to India, told Sky News earlier today that he has “absolutely nothing to hide” on the matter.
Influential backbencher and a prominent Brexiteer involved in ousting Theresa May Steve Baker rallied against the Johnson’s leadership, saying he should be long gone”.
“Really, the prime minister should just know the gig’s up,” Baker went on.
Constitutional affairs committee chair William Wragg said he had submitted a letter of no confidence in the PM’s leadership.
“I cannot reconcile myself to the prime minister’s continued leadership of our country and the Conservative Party,” he explained to MPs.
“There can be few colleagues on this side of the House I would contend who are truly enjoying being members of parliament at the moment.
“It is utterly depressing to be asked to defend the indefensible. Each time part of us withers.”