UK lawmakers set to report Boris Johnson misled them over ‘partygate’

LONDON (Reuters) – British lawmakers are expected to back a report on Monday that says former Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliberately misled parliament about which parties are breaking the rules at the heart of government during the coronavirus lockdowns.

The decision is likely to further expose divisions within Britain’s ruling Conservative Party ahead of national elections due next year, with some Tories publicly saying they will abstain or vote against the report, which recommended a range of sanctions against Johnson.

Still, the report of parliament’s privileges committee is expected to see its findings and recommendations upheld by parliament, with the backing of opposition lawmakers.

Johnson resigned as a lawmaker ahead of the release of the report last week, which recommended he be suspended as a lawmaker for 90 days if still in parliament, and stripped of automatic access to parliament.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to skip the debate and vote in parliament, with the Times newspaper reporting he was due to meet his Swedish counterpart in London on Monday.

Sunak was pressured to know if he would personally endorse the report.

“Obviously this is a matter for the House (of Commons), not the government,” Sunak told ITV when asked how he would vote. “It’s an important distinction. And that’s why we don’t want to influence anyone before that.

“This committee was set up under the former prime minister…I’m sure they did their job thoroughly and I respect them for that.”

Labor leader Keir Starmer challenged Sunak to stand for the vote, saying he needed to “show leadership”.

“What his predecessor did was unacceptable,” Starmer told the BBC. “If the Prime Minister wants to lead, he must come to Parliament and vote in this debate this afternoon to show where he stands on this issue.”

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar and Kylie MacLellan, editing by Ed Osmond)

Leave a Comment