Sorting by


The ghost of Boris Johnson is still haunting Rishi Sunak | Politics News

The latest clash between the Privileges Committee and some parliamentarians all flows back to one man: Boris Johnson.

He may have now quit as an MP, but his disrupting presence lingers on – and it’s the last thing the current PM needs.

Rishi Sunak had just waved his adversary off the premises only to find the ghost of Johnson haunting him still.

Politics live: Rwanda ‘not safe country’, rules judge

The Privileges Committee’s decision to heavily criticise a number of serving MPs and peers over putting “improper pressure” on the Commons investigation into whether he lied over Partygate re-opens splits in the party.

Remember, four serving Conservative MPs sit on that committee and now they threaten another act in the Johnson psychodrama: the prospect of a number of Johnson-backing parliamentarians put under a new investigation over their conduct around the initial investigation into their man.

The anger from those MPs named in the report – three of them, Nadine Dorries, Priti Patel and Jacob Rees-Mogg, former cabinet ministers – is palpable.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg speaks to reporters after Privileges Committee report named him.

One who didn’t want to be named said trying to restrict scrutiny and comment was a “dangerous path”.

Another sympathetic MP to those named told me it was “madness”.

“Expect a fair about of pushback,” said one. Another told me: “There’s general disquiet by MPs that a parliamentary committee who has one of its members subject to an investigation are seeking to malign the reputations of MPs who uphold the great British tradition of freedom of expressions and option.

“Our democracy faces serious challenges when the power of a committee reaches new levels that override freedom of speech.”

All of it is a headache for Mr Sunak, already facing a string of pounding challenges on the economy. He really doesn’t need to be fighting on this front, not least because one of his own government ministers – Lord Goldsmith – is named in the report.

That brings obvious pressure on a PM that promised a government of integrity – will he ask Lord Goldsmith to resign?

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Tamara Cohen explains all you need to know.

It looks, right now, as if the government will play it straight and bring forward a motion to approve the report, something those named and their supporters will no doubt hate.

That debate is set for 10 July – the same week of the NATO summit, which President Biden is set to attend. So don’t be surprised if the PM is otherwise engaged and misses the vote.

But there is also the chance of the motion being amended to recommend sanctions for those criticised by colleagues.

Might there be another investigation, a suspension, request for an apology?

All of it stokes tensions that a struggling PM and party heavily trailing in the polls really doesn’t need.

It might be all about the hangover of Boris Johnson’s partygate scandal, but the one it hurts now is Mr Sunak – and as three by-elections come into view in July, his opponents are sticking in the knife.

“Rishi Sunak has shown himself to be totally spineless so far on this issue,” said the Lib Dems on Thursday.

“He refused to block Boris Johnson’s honours lists, failed to vote for the partygate report and his promise of integrity has been left in tatters.”

This PM is still unable to press the button on the post-Johnson reset. He will no doubt try to avoid the report and any vote. But he can’t avoid the fallout.

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button