Picture by Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street

Johnson allies committed ‘attack on the legitimacy of parliament itself’

Priti Patel and Jacob Rees-Mogg are among those Boris Johnson allies fiercely criticised by the privileges committee over comments made relating to its investigation into whether the former PM misled the House over partygate. 

The new special report by the committee claims the former PM’s supporters “waged” a “campaign” against its work in a bid to “undermine” its investigation.

It highlights “unprecedented and coordinated pressure” on the committee’s members which had a “significant personal impact on individual members and raised significant security concerns”.

The report reads moreover: “An attack on the procedures of the House and on the impartial officers and advisers who support those processes is an attack on the legitimacy of Parliament itself”.

“Such behaviour undermines the proceedings of the House and is itself capable of being a contempt”, the report adds.

The privileges committee highlighted comments made by Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nadine Dorries, Priti Patel, Brendan Clarke-Smith, Andrea Jenkyns, Lord Goldsmith, Mark Jenkinson and Sir Michael Fabricant.

Mr Clarke-Smith said he was “shocked and disappointed” to be criticised in the report, while Mr Jenkinson accused the committee of “gross overreach”.

Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt has announced that MPs will debate the report in government time on Monday 10th July.

The Privileges Committee report also pointed to the “pressure” of a campaign by Conservative Post, which described the inquiry into Boris Johnson as “a politically motivated attack” and “deeply flawed, biased, and unfair”.

The report notes: “Two Members of the House of Lords, whose peerages were conferred on the recommendation of Mr Johnson, were among over 600 people who emailed Committee members using the template email devised by Conservative Post”.

The Liberal Democrats have called for Rishi Sunak to investigate whether Mr Johnson agreed to hand honours to MPs who defended him over Partygate.

“This looks like a gongs for cronies scandal”, the party’s deputy leader Daisy Cooper said.

She added: “Rishi Sunak has shown himself to be totally spineless so far on this issue. He refused to block Boris Johnson’s honours list, failed to vote for the Partygate report and his promise of integrity has been left in tatters.

“The least he can do now is order an investigation into whether any collusion took place between Johnson and these MPs, and commit to revoking their honours if it did”.