Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson has confirmed he will not attend a debate on the latest report from the Privileges Committee which condemned some senior Tories and accused them of trying to undermine its inquiry.
MPs will be asked on Monday to approve the latest report, which singled out seven Tory MPs and three Tory peers as being part of a “co-ordinated campaign of interference” with the committee’s inquiry into former PM Boris Johnson’s conduct.
Those named by the report included close Johnson allies Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nadine Dorries, Priti Patel, Andrea Jenkyns and Michael Fabricant.
The committee heavily criticised the MPs and peers named for their “vociferous attacks” against its inquiry into Mr Johnson, after some described it as a “witch hunt” and “kangaroo court”.
The report also criticised “unprecedented” attempts to undermine its integrity by Conservative peers including Lord Goldsmith, a serving minister.
Speaking on Monday, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson confirmed that Mr Sunak would be in a meeting ahead of his attendance at the Nato summit in Lithuania at the time of the debate and would not attend the Commons.
They added that the report was “rightly a matter for the House” and that the Government “will monitor developments in the House and see whether there is a vote moved”.
“He’s fully aware of the findings of the report. I haven’t spoken specifically about whether he’s read every page,” they continued.
Mr Sunak has previously refused to condemn the Tory MPs accused of trying to undermine and intimidate the Privileges Committee, insisting he still has “confidence” in those named in the damning report.
Mr Sunak also skipped the debate and vote last month on whether to impose sanctions on Mr Johnson, citing other diary commitments.
The debate followed the publication of the Privileges Committee report which concluded the former PM had knowingly misled MPs over parties that took place in Downing Street during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Mr Sunak’s spokesperson said at the time that he was not planning to attend Parliament for the debate due to “commitments that he can’t move”, including welcoming the prime minister of Sweden to Downing Street and a series of other meetings.