Sunak gets green light to swerve meaningless Boris vote after gagging claims

Dominic Grieve says he hopes Boris Johnson is ‘gone for good’

Despite all the hype and noise surrounding yesterday’s Privileges Committee report, Monday’s crunch vote confirming Mr Johnson’s sentence, condemning him to what would have been a 90-day suspension had he not quit, will now go down as a very boring, quiet and routine vote.

The Express has confirmed that Mr Johnson will no longer be encouraging his MP supporters to try and amend or block the motion, a move that would have likely been defeated by the far greater number of anti-Boris MPs.

The vote will now pass as a matter of routine, though not before Boris-hating members of the Tory and opposition benches spend their allocated debate time criticising the former Prime Minister and his legacy.

The motion will simply read, “This House approves the Fifth report from the Committee of Privileges”.

There had been some debate among Tory MPs about whether to amend the motion and split up the sanctions, so MPs could decide on whether to agree to just the findings of the report and the academic 90-day suspension, but refuse to give permission to Mr Johnson to lose his right to an ex-MP parliamentary pass.

This afternoon a source close to Mr Johnson confirmed rumours that he would not encourage his backers to oppose the motion.

They added that the “vote is meaningless as no practical effect”.

Mr Johnson’s decision to call off his troops will likely give the go-ahead to Mr Sunak now getting away with missing the vote altogether.

It comes despite furious allies of Mr Johnson attacking the Privileges Committee’s verdict on the former PM, with former Tory Party chairman Sir Jake Berry branding it an “absolute disgrace” and an attempt to “gag” MPs.

He told Good Morning Britain: “For the first time in my parliamentary career, I’m afraid to talk about a report or the findings of a committee of Parliament, because they have threatened MPs that if they do so, they themselves will be subject to the sorts of sanctions.

“It’s an attack on free speech. It’s an absolute disgrace and it rather begs the question that if the committee is so certain and so happy with their findings, why are they trying to stop any debate on this, to gag MPs and prevent them talking about it.”

He said he was “almost certain that Parliament will vote in favour” of the report on Monday, but that he will “certainly be one of those in the no lobby opposing this report, because I think both the conclusions and, to some extent, the way the committee was made up in terms of this report are wrong.”

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Downing Street has refused to confirm whether Mr Sunak plans to vote on the Privileges Committee report at all.

While refusing to vote in its favour will lead to accusations from opposition parties that he’s too weak to stand up to Mr Johnson, voting for it would lead to a schism within the Tory Party membership, which is still much more resolutely pro-Boris.

This afternoon the Sun reports that Mr Sunak could “duck out” of the vote by “glad-handing a fellow European leader”.

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While a few core Johnson supporters within the Conservative Party have vowed to vote against it, the Tory Whips have made the vote voluntary, which will encourage many Tory MPs to stay away altogether.

Last night, Liz Truss told GB News that the recommended 90-day suspension seems “harsh” and voiced continued support for her predecessor in No. 10.

The Express understands Ms Truss will not be in London on Monday, however, so will be unable to vote on the motion.

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