Tag Archives: Commons

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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No more Partygate fines for Johnson – if we trust Downing Street – but what will Sue Gray say?

Sue Gray: all eyes are turning to her, now she is at liberty to publish her full – and probably damning – report on Boris Johnson and the illegal Downing Street parties he allowed to happen under his nose.

The prime minister’s office at Downing Street has said that Boris Johnson will not receive a second fine for taking part in illegal parties there during the Covid-19 lockdowns that he himself had imposed.

With the police refusing to name anybody they have fined, we are being asked to take the word of people who are themselves likely to have been fined for taking part in the parties (126 people have) and who may have been told to protect their boss.

But whether or not you believe the people who initially spent more than a year hiding the fact that these parties took place at all, the closure of the Metropolitan Police inquiry means that Cabinet Office civil servant Sue Gray may at last release her own full report on the scandal.

This could be far more damning to Johnson than the police investigation because it may include her verdict on whether he lied to his fellow MPs about whether the parties took place and about his own participation in them.

Lying to Parliament is a grave offence under the Ministerial Code, for which it is entirely possible that Johnson may not only lose his job as prime minister but be expelled from the House of Commons altogether.

Of course, ultimate authority for punishing offences against the Code lies with – guess who? – the prime minister but in a situation in which the PM himself is accused, it seems logical that alternative arrangements will be made to judge the matter.

And MPs have already arranged their own inquiry. A motion for the Commons Privileges Committee to do so was passed “on the nod” after attempts by the Tory leadership to prevent their backbenchers from voting for it were defeated.

We have already been told that the Gray report is so excoriating of Johnson that it may end his premiership:

The Times, citing an official it described as being familiar with the contents of the complete report, said Ms Gray’s full findings were even more personally critical of the Prime Minister and could end his premiership.

According to the paper, the official said: “Sue’s report is excoriating. It will make things incredibly difficult for the Prime Minister. There’s an immense amount of pressure on her – her report could be enough to end him.” No 10 declined to comment.

According to the i newspaper, in a report last month, Tory rebels have been organising to oust Johnson and the now-four-month reprieve Johnson enjoyed as a result of the police investigation merely allowed them to organise themselves.

Even though we have been told he has not received any more fines, these backbenchers were also watching the results of the local elections at the beginning of the month – in which the Conservatives took a drubbing.

Remember: these were council seats and devolved Parliament places where the Labour Party had enjoyed the so-called “Corbyn bounce” in 2018, and where the Tories may have reasonably expected to make gains this time. Instead both they and Labour lost out to the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.

Ms Gray is expected to release her report next week – and then the sparks may really fly.

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Will Boris Johnson be tackled for ‘misleading’ House of Commons after Covid in care homes ruling?

Here’s something that happened after the end of the last Parliamentary session, but that should be raised in the new one.

More than 20,000 people died in care homes because of decisions made by Boris Johnson’s ministers (notably then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock).

Johnson made a statement in Parliament that ministers were not aware of asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 at the time they were ordering that care home residents in hospital should be sent back. The evidence shows it was false.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting claimed this was not true, highlighting a point of order raised by Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire, the shadow leader of the House of Commons.

Speaking to MPs on Thursday, Ms Debbonaire claimed the government was provided with evidence at the beginning of 2020 that pointed to that asymptomatic transmission of the Covid virus.

“On 28 January 2020, advice from Sage on asymptomatic transmission included that ‘early indications imply some is occurring,’” she said. On 24 February, the Lancet published a paper finding that infected individuals can be infectious before they become symptomatic.

“On 13 March, Patrick Vallance told the Today programme that ‘it’s quite likely that there is some degree of asymptomatic transmission’. Yet it wasn’t until 15 April that the government’s guidance was changed to require patients were tested before being discharged to care homes.”

Ms Debbonaire said Johnson might have “inadvertently” misled the House of Commons, but This Writer disagrees.

Either he was briefed on asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19, or he deliberately chose to miss the briefings at one or several of the COBRA meetings that he skipped (due to laziness?) in early 2020. In any case, the responsibility to know the facts fell on Johnson.

Therefore, if he told the Commons that ministers didn’t know about asymptomatic transmission, he was deliberately choosing to mislead MPs. He should be challenged and he should resign.

Source: Boris Johnson accused of ‘misleading’ House of Commons after Covid in care homes ruling

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Talk of the Parish: MP resigns after admitting he watched porn in House of Commons

Neil Parish: he has admitted looking at porn in the House of Commons and is resigning as a member of Parliament.

This Writer’s biggest question now is, what tractor website has a name similar to an internet pornography site – and will it be changing its name in the near future?

Neil Parish has said the first of two occasions in which he admits watching pornography in the House of Commons was when he was trying to look at tractors; he accidentally opened a porn site with a similar name, he said.

He later returned to the site he had found – deliberately – while sitting in the House of Commons, waiting to vote, he admitted. It was after this occasion that two female colleagues claimed they had seen him looking at porn on his phone while sitting near them.

It is right that he should go – if only because he tried to brazen it out at first.

Like his erstwhile party leader Boris Johnson, Parish initially said he would wait for the results of an inquiry led by his party’s Whips’ office before making any decision on his own future – and he refused to say whether he had watched porn in the Commons, even though he obviously knew he had.

Johnson had previously refused to discuss his alleged attendance at lockdown-busting Downing Street parties and whether he had lied to Parliament about them (an offence for which he should resign, according to the Ministerial Code). He has since been fined for attending one such gathering, with investigations continuing regarding five others.

Parish’s resignation may be seen as an attempt to prevent another scandal from affecting the Conservatives’ chances in the local elections, which will take place on Thursday (May 5).

But is anybody going to want to elect a representative from a party whose members watch porn rather than concentrate on their work, and then try to lie or dissemble their way out of the blame when they’re caught?

Tory MP alleged to have been caught watching porn is named. Are you any wiser?

Neil Parish: now you know what he looks like.

The Conservative MP who has been alleged to have been seen watching pornography in the House of Commons chamber has been named as Neil Parish.

Who?

Beats me. Apparently he’s the chair of the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee. I’m not sure that qualifies him to be described as a front-bencher, as was claimed on Wednesday (April 27).

His membership of the Conservative Party has been suspended while an investigation takes place, and he has said he will not comment on the allegation before it reports its findings.

It’s reminiscent of Boris Johnson and the Downing Street parties. These Tories seem to want us to believe they are incapable of remembering what they have or haven’t done until they are told by somebody else.

To This Writer, that suggests that they must be extremely unintelligent – or lying.

In either eventuality, it also suggests that they are not suitable material to be members of Parliament.

At least this one has said he will quit if he is found guilty of the allegation. Johnson will have to be scoured out of Downing Street with some form of decontaminant.

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After shocking ‘Basic Instinct’ story, entitled Tory frontbencher is caught watching pornography in Commons

Palace of pornography: perhaps the Houses of Parliament should be declared a red light district, considering the level of sexual misconduct alleged among Conservative MPs and Cabinet ministers.

What does this say about the Conservative Party?

After a Tory MP’s claims led to the Mail‘s “Basic Instinct” smear against Angela Rayner…

After it was revealed that 56 MPs are being investigated for sexual misconduct, including three Conservative Cabinet ministers

A Conservative frontbencher has been reported to the Tory Chief Whip for watching pornography on a mobile phone in the Commons chamber.

The incident was allegedly reported by a female minister who had been sitting next to the offender at the time. She told colleagues about it at a meeting yesterday evening (April 26).

According to the Mirror, around a dozen female Tory MPs at that meeting shared accounts of sexism and harassment by colleagues.

It won’t be enough for Tory Chief Whip Chris Heaton Harris to say “action will be taken” on this.

The Conservative benches in the Commons appear to be stuffed with perverts and public confidence is being shaken by this behaviour.

It indicates a sense of entitlement – that these perverts can do anything they want and get away with it – that is not acceptable in any workplace, let alone the corridors of power.

We want justice against these people – and we want to see it enacted. Who is the offending Tory frontbencher and how long will we have to wait for that person to be dismissed from Parliament?

Source: Tory frontbencher ‘caught watching porn in House of Commons’ as chief whip investigates | The Independent

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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

After Partygate fines, Tory-dominated Parliament is set to saddle us with a criminal government

Where he ought to be: but Boris Johnson looks set to avoid even the slightest censure for breaking the law and lying about it to Parliament because it seems Conservative MPs care more about their own money than the rule of law.

Look how far the UK has fallen under the corrupt leadership of these criminal Conservatives!

After being fined – probably less than the country’s poorest citizens, despite his offence being far worse – for attending a party he had personally explained to the nation was against the law, Boris Johnson looks set to get a free pass from his lickspittle Cabinet and backbenchers.

They seem to think that a criminal who knowingly lied to the nation – about the good times he was having at the same time he was forcing us apart from our friends, family and loved ones who were dying with Covid-19 – will continue to boost their own popularity in elections, and it seems they are more concerned with continuing to draw their enormous MP salaries and expenses claims than with upholding the law.

Only one Conservative – Tory Lord Wolfson – has acted on his conscience. He said the “scale, context and nature” of Covid breaches in government was inconsistent with the rule of law. As a Justice Minister responsible for the constitution, he said the prime minister’s failure to resign left him with no option other than to resign himself.

Three other Tory MPs have said Johnson should quit but others who have previously demanded his resignation have changed their tune and are now cravenly expressing support for the crook.

So the word is that, no matter what sanctions Opposition parties suggest against the UK’s first and only criminal prime minister, the Tories’ 80-seat voting majority will keep him in place.

According to the rules, he should have resigned last week so any failure to do so today (April 19) will be a further offence against the nation.

Johnson deliberately and repeatedly lied to Parliament and to the nation, saying he had not attended any illegal gatherings. Current intelligence suggests he went as far as organising one of them, which renders his current excuse – that he did not realise any of the events he was attending were illegal – into utter nonsense.

He is also expected to say that Partygate is not important – meaning the suffering he put you through while he raved it up is worth nothing to him and his MPs – and we should concentrate instead on the cost of living crisis (that he has caused) and the war in Ukraine (in which the UK is not a participant. In any case, many UK prime ministers have been replaced during wartime).

Opposition parties have been discussing how best to hold Johnson to account and demonstrate the corruption within the Tory ranks that support him. Possible measures include a censure motion or a vote of no confidence.

This Writer believes that it is in the debate that the most damage can be done. Each Conservative who stands up to speak will have to try to justify why they support a prime minister who has not only criminalised himself but has broken the ministerial code to lie about it – to Parliament, an offence that requires him to resign but he has failed to do so.

All Opposition MPs need to do is, when they stand up to speak after a Tory, pass a comment to the effect that the previous speaker is condoning criminality and should themselves be censured by the voters. But I doubt they will have the wit to do that.

Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle is expected to make a decision around lunchtime on what vote – if any – should take place on measures against Johnson (and, for that matter, against Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who has also been fined and is also, therefore, a criminal).

Whatever happens, the day is likely to end with the UK still labouring under the cosh of a government headed by two criminals. Nobody should be comfortable with that.

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Nadine Dorries appoints new charity regulator – the wrong way

Nadine Dorries: wrong again.

If you heard a job had become available because a candidate had failed, went for it, and then found you weren’t considered because the bosses couldn’t be bothered to do it all again, wouldn’t you be upset?

If so, you can understand why the House of Commons Culture committee refused to endorse Nadine Dorries’s decision to make Orlando Fraser the new chair of the Charity Commission.

Mr Fraser was only appointed because Dorries’s original choice – Martin Thomas, who was reported to be a long-time friend of Boris Johnson – resigned after just a week in the job over allegations of inappropriate behaviour in a previous post.

She simply went back to her shortlist and appointed the candidate who was next on the list – to the disgust of the Culture committee:

Withholding its approval for Mr Fraser’s appointment, the cross-party Culture Committee said in its report that Ms Dorries should have initiated an entirely new selection process at that point, rather than picking another candidate from the existing shortlist.

The “slapdash” failure to rerun the process raised “serious concerns” about the selection process and the lack of diversity in the shortlist, the committee said.

The controversy has cast a shadow over Mr Fraser’s tenure, before he even started in the job.

No matter what he does now, he will always be considered a second-best choice who only get the role because a government minister couldn’t be bothered to do her job properly.

Source: Nadine Dorries appoints new charity regulator in face of objections from parliamentary committee

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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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