PM to face vote on whether he should be investigated for misleading MPs over Partygate

19 April 2022, 14:58 | Updated: 19 April 2022, 15:27

MPs will get the chance to vote on whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament over his assurances Covid rules were followed at No10
MPs will get the chance to vote on whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament over his assurances Covid rules were followed at No10. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

MPs will get the chance to vote on whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament over his assurances Covid rules were followed in Downing Street, the Commons Speaker has announced.

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Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he had approved an application from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and other opposition MPs allowing them to table a motion for debate on Thursday.

It came after the Prime Minister, along with his wife, Carrie Johnson, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, were last week issued with fixed-penalty notices (FPN) by police investigating claims of coronavirus lockdown breaches in No10.

Mr Johnson has since apologised for attending his own birthday bash - which was held in June 2020 in the Cabinet room - and paid the fine despite telling the Commons previously that all Covid guidance was followed at the heart of Government.

Read more: Boris 'braced for second partygate fine' as police continue probe of 12 events

Read more: Top Cabinet members rally round Boris as minister resigns over Partygate

Sir Lindsay told MPs he had "no jurisdiction over the ministerial code" and whether it had been breached, but instead could "decide whether there is an arguable case to be examined".

Having taken advice from clerks on the matter, the Speaker said he had decided to allow Sir Keir to table the motion.

Labour is understood to be wording it to make Thursday's vote about whether to refer Mr Johnson to the Committee of Privileges.

The committee has the power to summon reports and documents, it is understood.

It means that MPs could request to see the full version of senior civil servant Sue Gray's inquiry into the Downing Street lockdown gatherings and any potential photographic evidence that exists.

When announcing the decision, Sir Lindsay also told MPs: "Scheduling the debate for Thursday will, I hope, give members an opportunity to consider the motion and the response to it.

"The motion will appear on Thursday's order paper to be taken after any urgent questions or statements. Hopefully there won't be any.

"I hope this is helpful to the House."

He said he had received letters from a number of MPs, including Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, requesting he gives precedence to consider statements made by Mr Johnson to the Commons on gatherings held in Downing Street and Whitehall during the lockdown.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey urged Conservative MPs to "do their patriotic duty" in Thursday's vote.

The former cabinet minister said: "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."