MPs emphatically vote to approve Partygate probe into Boris Johnson 'misleading' Parliament as just 7 back ex-Prime Minister

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 19/06/2023

- 21:53

Updated: 20/06/2023

- 09:53

Only seven MPs voted against the privilege committee's findings after a division was called in the House of Commons

Members of Parliament have emphatically voted to approve the privilege committee's Partygate probe which found Boris Johnson "misled" Parliament.

A total of 354 MPs voted to approve the report, including a number of Conservatives.

Only seven MPs rejected the findings and a large number abstained from the vote altogether.

A division was called in the House of Commons earlier tonight after MPs spent hours debating the privilege committee's findings.

The committee's report, which was published last week, found Johnson knowingly misled Parliament multiple times about gatherings which took place in Number 10 while Covid-curbing restrictions were in place.

The seven-member group recommended the former Prime Minister should have served a 90-day suspension from the Commons had he not resigned as an MP just days before it was released.

It also concluded Johnson, who celebrates his 59th birthday today, should have his right to access Parliament as a former MP revoked.

MPs were afforded a free vote on the issue, enabled members to vote without considering party political discipline from the whips office.

Sir William Cash, Nick Fletcher, Adam Holloway, Karl McCartney, Joy Morrisey and Heather Wheeler voted against the recommendations.

However, other MPs publicly voiced concern about the privilege committee's report, including ex-Levelling Up Secretary Sir Simon Clarke and former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.

Former Conservative Party chairman Sir Jake Berry, and Red Wall Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith also criticised the probe.

However, Clarke-Smith revealed he is "not giving others the satisfaction of taking part in their silly games with a division".

GB News host Jacob Rees-Mogg even likened the committee to "communist China", adding that removing Johnson's parliamentary pass was going "from the vindictive to the ridiculous".

A number of Conservative MPs declared they would support the recommendations, with Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt becoming the only Cabinet Minister to say in advance of the vote that she would vote in favour.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who served as Johnson's Chancellor, opted to steer clear of the Commons.

Theresa May, who preceded Johnson in Number 10, urged her Conservative colleagues to "uphold standards".

She told MPs: "Following an unsettling period in our political life, support for the report of the privileges committee will be a small but important step in restoring people’s trust in members of this House and of Parliament."

Harriet Harman, who chaired the privileges committee's investigation, revealed the group felt it necessary to slap Johnson with a 90-day suspension because of “his complicity in a campaign of abuse” directed at the cross-party group of MPs.

Labour's Shadow Commons Leader Thangam Debbonaire added: "He lied to this House, to the people of this country and when exposed lashed out at the system designed to hold him and all of us here to account."

However, the Liberal Democrats decided to take the moment to take aim at Sunak.

Deputy leader Daisy Cooper accused the Prime Minister of lacking leadership.

She continued: "Sunak promised integrity yet when push came to shove, he was too weak to even turn up.

"The British public doesn’t yet have the opportunity to tell Sunak and his sleaze-ridden Conservative Government what they think of them but the people of Somerset and Bedfordshire definitely do."

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