Category Archives: Ministerial Code

Grant Shapps DOESN’T have ‘no role’ in rail strike – he’s apparently interfering merrily

Grant Shapps: if he’s forced to resign over this, it won’t be the first time. You can bet he’ll protest his innocence this time, too.

It seems Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has been lying to Parliament – after he said he had no role in the rail strike, it has been alleged that he’s the one stopping agreement from being reached.

TUC chief Frances O’Grady said contracts mean the 15 train operators are unable to negotiate pay, conditions and pensions of 40,000 striking RMT workers without Shapps’s approval.

If they did try to reach a deal he could hit them with financial penalties by making them foot the bill for any extra wages costs.

This is based on legal opinion commissioned by the TUC from employment lawyer Michael Ford QC, who studied rail contracts to reveal a secret Dispute Handling Plan that rail operators must honour.

He said:

“These provisions mean train operators do not have freedom to negotiate matters which have given rise to the current dispute.

“It is the SoS, and not the operator, who has overarching direction and control of the strike.”

Of course, lying to Parliament remains a breach of the Ministerial Code that could potentially force an MP to resign.

So Shapps is now facing demands to actually do his job by resolving the rail strike in a way that ensures continued safety for passengers and security for workers – and then to resign from his job on grounds of corruption.

Source: Grant Shapps ‘misled public’ over claim he has no role in train strike – Mirror Online

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#Carriegate – tell the truth, media hacks: Johnson DID deny trying to get his now-wife a top FO job

The UK’s news sites were full of stories saying Boris Johnson had avoided a question on whether he tried to give his now-wife Carrie a Foreign Office job, at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday (June 22).

This is not true.

Here’s what happened:

Labour MP Chris Elmore asked Johnson: “Has he ever considered the appointment of his current spouse to a government post or to any organisation in the working of the royal households? Be honest, prime minister, yes or no?”

To this, Johnson replied: “I know why the party opposite wants to talk about nonexistent jobs, in the media.”

He was very clearly denying that he had tried to get Mrs Johnson a job by saying that no such job existed.

If, in the future, evidence shows that he did try to get her into a job – that one did, in fact, exist – then he will have lied to Parliament again.

This Writer hopes Parliament’s Privileges committee is paying careful attention and asks the right questions.

Source: PM avoids denying he attempted to get Carrie Johnson top Foreign Office job

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Geidt resigned because he wouldn’t ‘cover’ for Johnson’s law-breaking

Lord Geidt: he has spoken out to clear up confusion about his reason for resigning as Boris Johnson’s ethics advisor – and the reason is clear: Johnson is determined to continue law-breaking and Geidt wouldn’t be a part of it.

So now we know.

Lord Geidt did not resign because he objected to plans for steel tariffs that might breach international law.

He resigned because he refused to give advanced cover to the prime minister – Boris Johnson – where there is contemplation of doing anything that may breach international (or indeed national) law.

To This Writer, it seems clear that Geidt was concerned that he might be creating a precedent that would give Johnson carte blanche for unlimited law-breaking in the future.

How sad that it has taken three days since his resignation for this to be revealed.

You can find out how the story developed on the BBC by reading articles here

Here...

Here

Here

And here. They reveal much of the way the UK’s government has been trying to break the law while misleading the people about it, it seems.

And Geidt’s resignation confirms that, after Partygate, Boris Johnson is determined to continue breaking the law.

Why aren’t we seeing renewed calls for him to go?

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Watchdog chief says public need reassurance that standards are being maintained

Lord Evans of Weardale: the standards committee chair is a former chief of MI5.

Boris Johnson’s rewrite of the Ministerial Code is leaving the public with questions to answer about whether standards are being eroded, according to a watchdog chief.

Lord Evans of Weardale, chairman of the independent Committee on Standards in Public Life, questioned Johnson’s decision to relax the rules so ministers no longer have to resign over minor breaches of the Ministerial Code, while refusing to allow investigations to happen independently.

Instead, ethics advisor Lord Geidt must still seek the prime minister’s consent before investigating – and Johnson may veto any such investigation.

Lord Evans said the change, while an improvement on the previous position, meant the adviser was still not “sufficiently independent”.

Lord Evans said:

“I think you’ve got to raise questions when you see the outcome of the police investigations and the Sue Gray report, and one or two of the other issues that have come up – I was outspoken myself in regard to the Owen Paterson business.

“So, there has been a lot of public disquiet about standards over the last six months.

“It’s one of those things that comes up from time to time and it’s really important to reassure people that we want to continue to maintain decent standards in this country.”

He continued:

“In terms of public confidence, I think independent investigation of breaches is critical.

“And that’s why we recommended both that there should be independent right to initiate investigations and also that, you know, when it’s a very minor breach, it might be more sensible to say, well, you don’t have to resign but there are other penalties.

“Our concern is that the Government chose to accept the range of penalties but did not accept fully the recommendation for independent investigation and determination of the facts.”

And he said it is up to Lord Geidt to decide his next move after Johnson insisted his police fine over a Covid rule-busting birthday bash did not constitute a breach of the ministerial code (because he had rewritten the Code to ensure that it did not).

The standards watchdog chief told the Today programme:

“He’s made his position very clear, that he felt in his report that was published this week that it was important that the Prime Minister should recognise that the partygate allegations and the outcome of that do have implications for the application of the ministerial code.

“Of course, the Prime Minister has subsequently written to him explaining why he believed that he didn’t breach the ministerial code in that regard.

“So, obviously, Lord Geidt will be giving consideration to what has been said. But obviously that’s a decision for him, to make up his mind on where he goes with this next.”

It seems Lord Evans is suggesting his fellow peer should protest the prime minister’s conduct in some way.

And why not? One does not prove oneself innocent of rule-breaking by re-writing the rules – nor does one demonstrate one’s own high ethical standards by refusing to allow independent investigation of one’s behaviour.

Source: Public need reassurance on Government standards, says ex-MI5 chief

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Johnson is dodging demand to explain why being fined doesn’t break ‘uphold law’ rule

Lord Geidt: he has said the only reason he didn’t offer advice to Boris Johnson on how to conduct himself within the Ministerial Code is he would have had to resign if Johnson didn’t take it. This implies that he expected Johnson not to, doesn’t it?

Boris Johnson’s desperation to hold on to power while exercising it in only silly and pointless ways is becoming increasingly blatant with every passing day.

The latest development is a demand by Johnson’s standards advisor, Lord Geidt, for the prime minister to explain why his fine for breaching Covid-19 laws by attending a party does not break the Ministerial Code duty to comply with the law.

Johnson’s only response is the legally illiterate claim that “paying a fixed penalty notice is not a criminal conviction”. Maybe not – but it is a criminal sanction. People don’t get fined if they haven’t broken a law – and the Code’s conventions demand that ministers breaking the law must resign.

In his annual report on ministers’ interests, Geidt said the Partygate fine meant “a legitimate question has arisen as to whether those facts alone might have constituted a breach of the overarching duty within the ministerial code of complying with the law”.

Even if Johnson thought there was no breach, Geidt stated that he “should respond accordingly, setting out his case in public.”

Do you think he will?

This is just the latest evidence that, as a recent Guardian editorial claimed, the UK is “not being governed seriously in very serious times”.

Anxiety that the UK is rudderless while Johnson desperately tries to bail himself out of trouble that he caused won’t be dispelled by current government policy, the writer claims – because it has been formulated purely to distract us from the prime minister’s illegal antics:

There can be no other purpose for the proposal to restore trade in imperial units. The tiny number of people who will be thrilled by the restoration of a right to exclude metric measurements from displays of goods will be hugely outnumbered by the people, including many Conservatives, who can smell the decay in such gimmickry.

Reports of a plan to lift the prohibition on expanding grammar schools belongs in a similar category, although it sounds weightier. This is a zombie policy that staggers on in the Tory imagination as a solution to problems of social mobility, despite ample evidence that selective education has the opposite effect. If Mr Johnson thinks his levelling up agenda will be enlivened by reviving discredited schools policy, he will be disappointed.

The same unoriginal impulse is being brought to ignite a proposed bonfire of EU regulation – the function of the “Brexit freedoms bill” announced in the Queen’s speech. Sunset clauses will be retroactively scattered across the body of retained European law, so that they expire regardless of whether a suitable replacement has been conceived. It is a wildly irresponsible idea, conceived in the delusional realm of Europhobic imaginations where every British economic problem has its origin in Brussels directives. In reality, it means legislating for deliberate uncertainty, as if the goal is deterring investment.

The writer goes on to make this bold statement: “the harder the prime minister scrapes the bottom of the policy barrel, the more desperate he looks.

“But the task of political survival is now consuming all of the energy that should be applied to running the country… Conservative MPs.. can have Mr Johnson as their leader, or they can have a functional government; not both.”

Sadly, even this is not true.

There is no evidence to suggest that a Tory government will function any more adequately without Boris Johnson than with him; considering the alternatives, they all have to go.

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Only crooks change the rules to save their own skin – as Boris Johnson has done

RIP democracy: how true, when Boris Johnson is re-writing the government code of conduct to allow him to act dishonestly and corruptly without any fear of punishment.

Angela Rayner is right – this really is the action of a “tinpot despot”.

Terrified that he’ll be forced out of office for breaking his own Covid-19 lockdown rules – and, more to the point, lying about it to Parliament – Boris Johnson has changed the Ministerial Code to eliminate forced resignation or expulsion as a penalty.

This wretched rat’s rewrite means that, from now on, ministers will not always be expected to resign for breaching the code of conduct. Under new sanctions, they could apologise or temporarily lose their pay instead.

The Guardian states that,

Johnson also blocked his independent ethics chief, Christopher Geidt, from gaining the power to launch his own investigations, and rewrote the foreword to the ministerial code, removing all references to honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability.

… because he has none of those qualities and does not understand what they mean, one presumes.

His spokespeople at 10 Downing Street have tried to justify the changes by saying it is “disproportionate to expect that any breach, however minor, should lead automatically to resignation or dismissal”.

Why?

UK government ministers should be expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct in the world. Any breach of those standards should be met with the sternest penalty.

If MPs like Johnson cannot accept that responsibility, then they should not have even tried to become members of a government, let alone leaders of it.

So let me suggest a response to Downing Street’s self-serving statement, as follows:

It is inappropriate for a serving prime minister to alter the rules by which his conduct will be judged, when his conduct is about to be judged.

Johnson has certainly lived up to Keir Starmer’s appraisal of the standard he sets for himself: “lower than a snake’s belly”.

We can all see that.

And I don’t think the general public will find it in the slightest way amusing.

If the Conservative Party keeps him as its leader, then it is heading for a landslide loss at the next general election – which, remember, is likely to take place after another two-and-a-half years of his corruption.

Some leading Tories have read the writing on the wall and are already calling for his removal.

Will the rest of them please develop backbones over the weekend so we can restore a shred of integrity to our legislature?

Source: Boris Johnson accused of changing ministerial code to ‘save his skin’ | Boris Johnson | The Guardian

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Partygate: Boris Johnson may be getting no more fines, but he’s a long way from getting away with it

Boris Johnson at a party: this one was in Christmas 2020, apparently, but the police aren’t fining him for it. Hmm…

Never mind the rumours that Boris Johnson met Sue Gray to discuss how to “manage” her report on the Covid-19 lockdown-busting Downing Street parties; he’s not likely to affect her verdict.

Apparently they only met to talk about whether she should publish images in her report – and he said it was a matter for her to decide on her own.

At the moment, it seems she is pushing for clearance to name the so-called ringleaders of the Partygate scandal, discussing with Civil Service human resources and legal teams, as well as trade unions, how explicitly she can point the finger.

That’s not the behaviour of someone who has taken orders not to rock the boat.

Indeed, avid scandal-watchers are bulk-buying popcorn in time for next week’s publication of her report, which promises to issue scathing criticism of senior political and Civil Service figures, calling into question why illegal social gatherings were allowed to take place.

But the real scandal appears to be the possibility that the Commons Privileges Committee is unlikely to report on whether Johnson intentionally misled Parliament over these parties until September.

The Committee has not yet met to decide who will chair the inquiry, after Labour’s Chris Bryant recused himself over [an] accusation of bias.

It is also unlikely to conclude its investigation before Parliament breaks up for summer recess in July, raising the prospect of Mr Johnson waiting until September at the earliest until the final verdict is delivered on Partygate.

The net result of all this delay has been to diffuse the strength of the scandal.

Ms Gray was originally set to publish her expected-to-be-damning report in January, less than two months after claims came to light that Tory ministers and civil servants took part in illegal parties over a period of more than a year.

But she was delayed after Johnson’s fellow Balliol College, Oxford, alumnus Cressida Dick commissioned a Metropolitan Police inquiry into the allegations that has delayed matters for four months.

And in the meantime, MPs decided to hold their own inquiry into whether Johnson had broken the Ministerial Code. It is known that he repeatedly provided false information to the Commons about whether parties took place but the important question is whether he did so, knowing that his words were not true.

It is this inquiry that may push Johnson out of Downing Street, because knowingly misleading Parliament is a breach of the Ministerial Code for which the penalties go as far as expulsion from that assembly.

But if the verdict won’t be known until September, who will care?

Source: Boris Johnson to wait months for final ‘Partygate’ verdict on whether he misled Parliament

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Will committee set to decide Johnson’s fate be replaced entirely?

Recused: Chris Bryant can’t chair the Commons Privileges committee while it examines Boris Johnson’s behaviour because he has already called the prime minister a “proven liar”.

The House of Commons Privileges Committee – that will decide whether Boris Johnson deliberately lied to MPs about Partygate – could be temporarily replaced with an entirely new membership for the job.

Committee chairman Chris Bryant has already recused himself because he has publicly accused Johnson of being a “proven liar”.

The Labour Party must now appoint a new chair, and is said to be looking for a ‘grandee’ to take Bryant’s place.

And there are concerns that that three of the four Tories on the committee – Laura Farris, Alberto Costa and Andy Carter – are on the Government payroll as ministerial aides.

It is entirely possible to replace the whole committee in order to ensure fair process – as happened for the Parliamentary inquiry into Tory former Cabinet Minister Damian Green.

The process may be slightly disrupted if, as is being reported, seven Conservative MPs defect to Labour over Johnson’s Partygate criminality and alleged dishonesty (Dehenna Davison is the only possible defector to have been named).

Obviously they could not be nominated onto the committee but defections would make it harder for the Tories to find candidates.

Source: Boris Johnson ‘plots early general election to see off leadership rivals’ as Partygate trundles on | Daily Mail Online

Prime Minister’s Questions: Boris Johnson fails to answer Partygate accusations

Downing Street party: Boris Johnson asks quiz questions at one of the events that he says did not happen at his home and workplace during Covid-19-related lockdowns.

Police have discovered widespread criminality in Downing Street, with 20 people – so far – fined for attending parties there during Covid-19 lockdown when it was illegal to do so.

That’s five more than originally reported when This Site broke the story.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on the record as saying no such parties took place and all regulations were followed, despite allegedly attending six of the 12 events under investigation himself.

At the very least, Johnson lied to Parliament and under the Ministerial Code he should resign.

In response to questioning, Johnson complained that Opposition leader Keir Starmer had previously said he should not resign, then fell back on a list of other issues he claimed to be tackling.

He did not address the question at all.

Doesn’t that indicate that he is as guilty as sin and should resign or be pushed out?

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#Johnsonlies – UK prime minister breaks #MinisterialCode by failing to correct the record

Remember This Site’s article a couple of days ago, showing how Boris Johnson had said fears over inflation were “unfounded”, then lied to MPs that he hadn’t?

Here’s the video clip with all the information you need:

I should have added that Johnson was subsequently challenged to correct the record – but didn’t:

The Ministerial Code is clear: he should have corrected the record immediately – but he didn’t.

And Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told him to sit down – effectively preventing him, it seems, from doing so!

It seems clear that both Johnson and Hoyle have some explaining to do.

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