Tory MPs try to condemn Partygate investigation as a witch hunt

Boris Johnson: regarding his honesty, public opinion tends to go against him, as this graphic shows.

Isn’t it scandalous that some Conservative MPs are trying to use their position and influence to pre-judge an investigation into whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament?

According to the BBC,

allies of the outgoing PM dismissed the investigation by the Commons Privileges Committee as a “witch hunt” and “rigged”.

The inquiry will examine whether he obstructed Parliament by telling it that pandemic rules had been followed [when in fact more than a dozen rule-breaking parties are known to have happened, with many more suspected].

The probe could lead to Mr Johnson facing a by-election to remain an MP, if it leads to his suspension from the Commons for more than 10 days.

Apparently the comments started flying after the committee said it would not have to prove that Johnson deliberately misled MPs to show he committed a “contempt of Parliament” by obstructing its work.

Johnson loyalist and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the “Machiavellian” inquiry was “the means to a by-election” and called on Tory MPs to “have no part in it”.

Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith, whom Mr Johnson made a peer in December 2019, said the inquiry was “clearly rigged” and an “obscene abuse of power”.

Backbench Tory MP Michael Fabricant also accused the committee of wanting to “get rid of Boris Johnson” and “changing the rules”.

In response,

one of the Tory MPs on the committee, Sir Bernard Jenkin, said the committee had a “duty” to carry out the inquiry and accused Ms Dorries of waging a “terrorist campaign to try and discredit the committee”.

So now, in a move to halt this internecine fighting within the Tory Party, chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris has demanded decorum:

“May I urge caution against any further comments in the media about the Privileges Committee and especially its Clerk and Members,” wrote Mr Heaton-Harris, who is in charge of party discipline.

“Invariably these comments will be misinterpreted by those who do not wish to help us.”

Johnson has denied deliberately misleading MPs. The committee – with a majority of Conservative MPs – has said it has not “prejudged” any aspect of its inquiry, and the parliamentary officials advising it are politically impartial.

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