The prime minister is set to be investigated over whether whether he misled the House of Commons regarding lockdown-defying gatherings Downing Street.
This evening MPs have waved through a Labour-led motion calling for the privileges committee to examine the claims after Johnson previously denied rules were broken at No 10.
Last week a No 10 spokesperson confirmed that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak were fined over the PM’s 2020 birthday gathering, stating: “on 19th June 2020 at the Cabinet Room 10 Downing Street between 1400 and 1500 you participated in a gathering of two or more people indoors in the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street”.
Scotland Yard has so far issued 50 fines in relation to gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall during lockdown restrictions.
Over 17,700 people have been fined by the Metropolitan Police for breaching Covid laws during the pandemic, including 113 fines for holding a gathering of over 30 people.
Last night Speaker Lindsay Hoyle accepted a motion tabled by the government to delay any decision on whether to refer Johnson to the standards committee for potentially misleading the House over Partygate.
However, less than half an hour before the debate on whether to investigate the prime minister misled parliament, the leader of the House, Mark Spencer, unexpectedly announced that Conservative MPs would be given a free vote on Labour’s unamended motion.
It is believed the government was forced to drop a three-line whip amid the prospect of mass abstentions by unhappy Conservative backbenchers and the threat of ministerial resignations.
The probe will not begin until Scotland Yard’s criminal investigation has concluded.
The prime minister, who is on a two-day visit to India, told Sky News earlier today that he has “absolutely nothing to hide” on the matter.
Influential backbencher and a prominent Brexiteer involved in ousting Theresa May Steve Baker rallied against the Johnson’s leadership, saying he should be long gone”.
“Really, the prime minister should just know the gig’s up,” Baker went on.
Constitutional affairs committee chair William Wragg said he had submitted a letter of no confidence in the PM’s leadership.
“I cannot reconcile myself to the prime minister’s continued leadership of our country and the Conservative Party,” he explained to MPs.
“There can be few colleagues on this side of the House I would contend who are truly enjoying being members of parliament at the moment.
“It is utterly depressing to be asked to defend the indefensible. Each time part of us withers.”