Boris Johnson clashes with Beth Rigby over Partygate probe
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Parliament’s privileges committee will soon begin its investigation into whether Boris Johnson deliberately misled parliament when he denied involvement or knowledge of any lockdown breaking Downing Street parties. Yesterday MPs approved a motion by Labour to launch an inquiry into Mr Johnson’s statements, which will be the third official look into the Prime Minister’s conduct surrounding the partygate scandal.
Mr Johnson made several assurances to the House of Commons that he was either unaware of parties or that the rules had been followed to the letter throughout the UK’s numerous coronavirus lockdowns.
The committee exists to investigate the conduct of MPs who are suspected to have committed a “contempt” and breached parliamentary privilege – which includes the deliberate misleading of the house.
There are seven members on the committee, six of which will be investigating Mr Johnson.
Labour MP Chris Bryant would have been the investigation lead and seventh member, but he recused himself due to making several public statements about Mr Johnson’s conduct over the course of the partygate scandal.
Sir Bernard Jenkin
A veteran Tory MP, Sir Bernard is the chairman of the Commons liaison committee, so is used to questioning the Prime Minister.
He has formerly been critical of the Prime Minister, for example when Mr Johnson made the Russian owner of the Evening Standard Evgeny Lebedev a peer, but has not said anything about partygate.
Mr Jenkin is acting vice-chair in the absence of Mr Bryant and will lead the investigation.
Alberto Costa – Conservative
Alberto Costa is the MP for South Leicestershire a parliamentary private secretary to Suella Braverman, the Attorney General.
Mr Costa is not an official Government member, but due to being a ministerial aide he would be widely expected to only vote in favour of the Government.
However, he has voted against the Government before – his campaign for the rights of EU citizens living in Britain after Brexit cost him his job as an aide under Theresa May.
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Laura Farris – Conservative
Elected to represent Newbury in 2019, Laura Farris is a self-professed One Nation Tory and parliamentary aide to the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
Being so closely tied to a top Government minister means Ms Farris would be expected to keep her loyalty to Number 10.
But given her alliance with Ms Truss, who is a potential candidate to replace Mr Johnson, the outcome is difficult to predict.
Andy Carter – Conservative
Andy Carter is one of the Tory party’s more recent additions, having been elected to represent Warrington South in 2019.
As part of the committee, he found disgraced former MP Owen Paterson guilty of breaking lobbying rules in 2021.
During that vote, Tory MP’s were whipped into voting against his suspension but Mr Carter stood by his findings.
Yvonne Fovargue – Labour
A Labour MP since 2010, Ms Fovergue has held multiple shadow frontbencher roles under Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn, including transport, education, defence and business.
She has not made any public comments about partygate – likely foreseeing that such an investigation would eventually take place.
Allan Dorans – SNP
Allan Dorans is the Scottish National Party MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock.
He has not publicly commented on partygate – despite the SNP’s stance that the Prime Minister needs to resign immediately.
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