PM accused of 'running away' from scrutiny after dodging Tory sleaze debate

9 November 2021, 07:30

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Labour MP Steve Reed has accused Boris Johnson of 'hiding' from scrutiny by running off to the North of England after he dodged a Parliamentary debate over Tory sleaze.

Boris Johnson skipped an emergency Commons debate on Parliament's standards system, leaving it to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to respond for the Government as the Prime Minister chose to instead honour a "long-standing" commitment to visit a North East hospital.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast the Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and MP for Croydon North hit out at the PM.

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

Branding his lack of attendance in the Chamber a "disappointment," Mr Reed said the Prime Minister "ran off to the North of England and refused to come into the House of Commons to apologise."

Read more: PM under pressure after skipping sleaze debate and minister admitted Gov made 'mistake'

"When you make a mistake, you apologise," the Labour MP told Nick.

Accusing the Prime Minister of "hiding" and "not leading" Mr Reed said the incident formed part of a pattern of behaviour within the Conservative Party.

Calling for an "anti-corruption commissioner", the Labour MP said there needed to be a clear set of standards and rules established.

It comes after Tory MPs were ordered on Wednesday to vote for a new committee to consider an altered system of appeals after former environment secretary Owen Paterson was sanctioned, only for ministers to backtrack only hours later after opposition parties refused to co-operate.

In the bitter aftermath of the row, Mr Paterson announced he was quitting as MP for North Shropshire after 24 years, blaming the "cruel world of politics".

It followed a recommendation by the Commons Standards Committee that he should be suspended from Parliament for six weeks after committing an "egregious" breach of the centuries-old ban on paid lobbying by MPs.

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