Boris Johnson to dodge MPs' scrutiny in sleaze debate as he refuses to say sorry

8 November 2021, 13:44 | Updated: 8 November 2021, 15:30

Boris Johnson will skip an emergency debate on sleaze
Boris Johnson will skip an emergency debate on sleaze. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Boris Johnson will dodge an emergency Commons debate on the Tory sleaze row.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The prime minister visited a hospital in the North East on Monday, meaning he will skip the scrutiny session.

It was called in the wake of the Owen Paterson row, which saw the Conservative quit after outrage at his breach of lobbying rules.

Asked if he would apologise to his party and the public about the saga, Boris Johnson said MPs have "got to make sure... that we take all this very, very seriously and that we get it right".

He added: "There's a debate today, unfortunately I can't be there because I had a long-standing engagement up here."

Read more: James O'Brien's epic monologue on why the Owen Paterson scandal has hit so hard

Read more: Boris Johnson's poll rating plunges in Owen Paterson sleaze saga

Shelagh reflects on MPs having a second job

He attacked opposition parties for wanting to focus on a "particular case, a particular MP who suffered a serious personal tragedy, and who's now resigned".

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has told Mr Johnson to issue an apology over the row.

The Tories, under Mr Johnson, have insisted their main issue is with the standards process, and he said he hopes for a "cross-party agreement on a way forward, including an appeals process".

Last week, Conservatives tried to block an immediate 30-day suspension for Mr Paterson, after a standards committee found he had made an "egregious" breach of lobbying rules.

They were told instead to support the creation of a Tory-led committee that would review Mr Paterson's case and the standards system.

However, a backlash saw the Government U-turn the next day, leading to Mr Paterson announcing he will stand down as MP because of the "cruel world of politics".

Tories are said to be angry at the Government's handling of the saga.

Mr Johnson said: "If there is anything positive to come out of the whole thing, it is that, as far as I can make out, the Speaker is determined to try to move us all forward with a system whereby we have a cross-party approach, which is what we were trying achieve last week."

The PM added there has been "absolutely no discussion" of whether Mr Paterson could be in line for a peerage.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Peter Doherty

Peter Doherty says he 'was healthier on heroin' as he reveals life-changing diagnosis after saying he's a 'sick man'

Donald Trump

Nikki Haley vows to fight on after Donald Trump wins in her home state

Biden Governors

Calls to ‘disagree better’ as US state governors meet at White House

Grant Shapps

Vladimir Putin 'wants to kill again with Novichok poison in the UK', warns Defence Secretary Grant Shapps

Israel Palestinians

Mediators seeking Israel-Hamas ceasefire and release of hostages

Curtis Arnold made videos about Nicola Bulley's disappearance

TikTok sleuth accused of filming Nicola Bulley’s body 'still making money' under fake name 'investigating' migrant hotels

Portugal Election

Populists hope to make impact in Portuguese election

Donald Trump

Donald Trump claims fourth straight primary win in South Carolina, as he marches towards Republican nomination

Keir Starmer called Lee Anderson's comments Islamophobic

Starmer says Sunak is harbouring 'extremists' among Tories as Lee Anderson suspended following Islamist claim

Met Police urged to expand deep dive for rogue officers after multiple rape and kidnap conviction for cop

Rapist Met PC wasn’t included in search for rogue officers as campaigners call on force to expand cleanup efforts

Belarus Election

Belarusians vote in tightly controlled election amid calls for boycott

Sadiq Khan has called for Russian oligarchs' assets to be seized

Sadiq Khan calls for £1 billion of property owned by Russian oligarchs in London to be seized to fund 4,000 new homes

Election 2024 Trump

Donald Trump easily beats Nikki Haley in her home state of South Carolina

Bridget Jones set to return for fourth film when cult rom-com starring Renee Zellweger begins filming later this year

Bridget Jones set to return for fourth film when cult rom-com starring Renee Zellweger begins filming later this year

An aircraft launching from USS Dwight D Eisenhower during flight operations in the Red Sea

US and UK strike Houthi sites in Yemen amid surge in Red Sea attacks on ships

Residents voting in the South Carolina Republican primary

Trump enters South Carolina primary looking to embarrass Haley in her home state