The foreign secretary has denied claims Boris Johnson could face a “kangaroo court” style investigation as MPs probe allegations he may have misled the Commons over “Partygate”.
Her comments come after The Telegraph newspaper reported that Downing Street sources believe the investigation could wind-up finding the prime minister guilty of misleading MPs without sufficient evidence.
The ongoing probe by the cross-party privileges committee of MPs, four out of seven members of which are Conservative, is expected to wind up sometime in the autumn.
Speaking with Sky News this morning, Liz Truss was quizzed over whether she thought the investigation could mirror a “kangaroo court”.
She responded: “No, we have these processes in Parliament. The process has kicked off. We now need to wait for the result.”
Truss also stressed that she “did not see a problem” with former Labour minister Harriet Harman chairing the probe.
Truss went on to press to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that she “implicitly” trusts the committee to “listen properly to the evidence and make the right decision” on the matter.
She also reiterated Johnson’s dismissal that an early general could be held.
“We are not thinking about that, we are thinking about getting on with the job,” she claimed.
The committee’s chair, Labour MP Chris Bryant, excused himself from overseeing the report given his extensive public criticism of Johnson over the “Partygate” affair.
Opposition MPs have accused Johnson of misleading Parliament following his 1 December comments that “all guidance was followed completely in No 10”.
In April the Metropolitan Police issued fines to both Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak for violating Covid rules.
May’s long-awaited publication of Sue Gray’s report into lockdown gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall described events during which some staff got so drunk they vomited, wine was spilt on walls and aides brawled.
If the committee finds Johnson guilty of breaching conduct rules he could be suspended from the House of Commons as a penalty.
If an MP is suspended from the House of Commons for at least 10 sitting days following a recommendation of the Committee of Standards, their constituents can prompt a recall petition.
If signed by 10 per cent of electors in the relevant local constituency, a recall position is a mechanism that formally leads to a by-election being held in the constituency concerned.
Such a process could lead to Boris Johnson’s removal as a Conservative MP. His 2019 majority of 7,210 in Uxbridge and South Ruislip is already the smallest of recent prime ministers.
If Johnson were found guilty but did not face a suspension from the Commons, MPs would potentially grow frustrated with the impact of the scandal on his role as PM, and further letters could be forwarded to Sir Graham Brady.
It is then possible that the 1922 committee would change their rules to push for another vote of confidence, or Johnson would be pushed to resign before another could take place.
More to follow