Big Ben and Churchill Statue

‘Always another innings’: Boris Johnson reacts to MPs’ partygate verdict in private speech

After 354 MPs voted to endorse the findings of the privileges committee report last night in the House of Commons, elsewhere in London Boris Johnson gave his reaction at a private gathering of centre-right parties. 

Speaking at the reception for the opening of the International Democrat Union conference, Mr Johnson is said to have joked there was “always another innings”.

The former prime minister has this morning also tweeted a photo of himself at the reception. It reads: “Fantastic energy in the room for the opening reception at the 40th [IDU Alliance] conference. Let’s back democracy against autocracy everywhere we find it”.

Staunch Johnson ally Brendan Clarke-Smith was also in attendance at the event and posted a photo to Twitter. “[I] had a better offer than having to listen to some of the pious speeches in the half-empty Commons today. Far better speeches here with some real democrats”, he said. 

It was the first time Boris Johnson had surfaced since the commons voted overwhelmingly to endorse the privileges committee’s report that found he deliberately lied to parliament multiple times over partygate.

Last night, 354 MPs voted in favour of denying Mr Johnson a former member’s pass to parliament with former prime minister Theresa May among those making an assessment of her successor in No 10. It had been “found wanting”, she said.

In all, 118 Conservative MPs voted in favour of the report, while 225 abstained. Seven voted against.

Of course, having dramatically quit as an MP less than two weeks ago, Mr Johnson could not participate in the debate.

Cabinet members who voted to endorse the report included Penny Mordaunt, the Commons leader who moved the motion; Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary; and Alex Chalk, the justice secretary. Simon Hart, the Conservative chief whip, was also among those to back the sanctions against Mr Johnson.

Among those Conservative MPs who abstained were Nadine Dorries, Michelle Donelan, Oliver Dowden, Steve Barclay, Michael Gove and George Eustice.

Rishi Sunak was also not in the chamber for the debate and did not cast a vote.

And the seven Conservative MPs who voted against the report were: Bill Cash, Nick Fletcher, Adam Holloway, Karl McCartney, Joy Morrissey, Desmond Swayne, Heather Wheeler.

During the debate, many of the former prime minister’s staunch allies seemed to boycott the proceedings, including Mr Clarke-Smith.

The privileges committee’s chair Harriet Harman said that had the group not sanctioned Mr Johnson, the ex-PM’s “dishonesty” would have “contaminated the whole of government”.