Keir Starmer says the case against Boris Johnson for lying about Partygate is “very clear” as the prime minister now faces a dire prospect of a parliamentary inquiry following an awkward government turn.
Speaker Lindsay Hoyle accepted a proposal made last night by the government to postpone any decision to refer Johnson to the Standards Committee for potentially misleading the House of Representatives over Partygate.
However, less than half an hour before the debate on whether to investigate the prime minister who misled parliament, House Speaker Mark Spencer unexpectedly announced that Conservative MPs would be given a free vote at the unchanged Labor initiative.
It is believed that the government was forced to abandon the three-party system amid the prospect of mass abstinence by disgruntled conservatives and the threat of ministerial resignations.
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This is an awkward reversal for the government, which will now be unable to hold rice under Partygate in the coming months. Only this morning, Education Minister Nadhim Zahavi publicly supported the government’s amendment postponing the decision on the investigation.
“If you want to follow due process, you allow the police to complete the investigation, you allow Sue Gray’s report to be published, and then the Privileges Committee can consider it.
“Today I will vote for it. The amendment is the right chronology and the right way to follow the right process. ”
At today’s briefing in the lobby at 10 Downing Street, he said he was now “satisfied” with the Labor movement, despite a brief explanation as to what had changed since the government’s amendment.
A spokesman for the prime minister said: “The amendment we made last night was supposed to make it clear that the case should take place after a police investigation and the publication of Sue Gray’s report.
“It was not specific in the petition that was submitted to the House of Representatives today, but now we are pleased that we have considered this petition, that any procedure in parliament will take place after both of these things happen.”
Opening the debate on whether to investigate Johnson in connection with his Partygate account, Starmer confirmed that any investigation will not begin until the completion of the Metropolitan Police investigation.
Starmer claimed: “There is already a case in the House of Representatives that is very clear.
“The Prime Minister said that no rules have been violated, 50 fines for violating the rules have already been issued.
Starting the debate, the Conservatives ’benches have been filled little, and it is expected that the decision to send the prime minister to the standards committee will become a formality.
The Labor leader said that the question of whether the Prime Minister had misled the House because of Partygate was “fundamental” for all MPs.
Starmer said: “The Prime Minister has been accused of repeatedly, deliberately and regularly misleading this House in connection with parties held on Downing Street during the blockade.
“Now this is a serious accusation, because if it is true, it is contempt of parliament. And it is not – and never should be – and the accusation becomes frivolous. ”
Westminster SNP leader Ian Blackford provoked anger from conservatives when the speaker challenged him for calling Johnson a “liar” in the House of Representatives.
Blackford said, “The truth is simple, and it is this: he lied not to be caught, and he was caught, he lied again.”
Conservative MP William Regg, a vocal critic for Johnson, drew applause from opposition lawmakers, saying he could not “reconcile” with the support of the incumbent prime minister.
“The invasion of a dictatorial aggressor into a sovereign nation should not be the reason why we ourselves should adopt lower standards,” he said.
Reaffirming that he would reject the government’s proposed amendment, the Enemy said: “The initial proposal is perfectly acceptable … there was no need to complicate matters.”