Boris Johnson clashes with Beth Rigby over Partygate probe
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After months of dancing around the partygate scandal, Boris Johnson now faces an official Parliamentary investigation into his conduct. MPs voted tonight on whether or not they should task Parliament’s cross-party Committee on Standards with investigating whether he misled the lower chamber. The Ministerial Code-breaking act would traditionally demand resignation from any other minister and could end the Prime Minister’s career.
MPs have spent most of the day debating Labour’s motion, which was greenlit on Tuesday by Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons.
The debate lasted roughly five-and-a-half hours, starting at 11.30am and ending by 4.45pm.
Once the debate concluded, House of Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans called the vote.
To pass, the motion would only require vocal support without opposition from the Government benches.
The motion passed without “noes” from Mr Johnson’s ministers, meaning it now goes forward.
The standards committee now has the support it needs to start “substantive” investigations into claims Mr Johnson misled Parliament.
But the motion’s framing means that it won’t start immediately.
Committee members will have to wait until parallel investigations conclude first.
When will the standards investigation begin?
While MPs have now greenlit the investigation, it won’t start immediately.
Committee members will have to wait until the Metropolitan Police has concluded its inquiries into partygate.
The police force recently announced that it would delay updates on fines handed out until after the local elections, which take place on May 5 this year.
The update from the service means that, while the investigation continues, it will not announce whether any more individuals have received a fixed penalty notice.
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “Whilst the investigation will continue during the pre-election period, due to the restrictions around communicating before the May local elections, we will not provide further updates until after May 5.”
Senior Government sources have suggested the Prime Minister is facing more fines on top of his first fixed penalty notice officials provided last week.
One source revealed last week’s events could prove the “calm before the potential storm” as another three penalty notices may be on the way.
Who is on the Parliamentary committee on standards?
The cross-party but Conservative majority committee consists of 14 members, led by Labour MP Chris Bryant.
Mr Bryant has recused himself from the investigation so that the House of Commons “be seen to proceed fairly without any imputation of unfairness”.
He has emerged as one of the Prime Minister’s most outspoken critics and previously described him as a “proven liar”.
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