UK Lawmakers Vote 354-7 to Punish Johnson

They overwhelmingly endorsed damning report on 'partygate' scandal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2023 8:45 AM CDT
Updated Jun 19, 2023 6:35 PM CDT
Report Blasts Boris Johnson Over 'Partygate'
Then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures during a coronavirus media briefing in Downing Street, London, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.   (Jack Hill, Pool Photo via AP, File)
UPDATE Jun 19, 2023 6:35 PM CDT

In a historic humiliation for Boris Johnson on his 59th birthday, Britain's Parliament voted overwhelmingly Monday to ratify a damning report on the "partygate" scandal. MPs voted 354 to 7 to endorse the report, though many members of the former prime minister's Conservative Party stayed away from the vote and the five-hour debate that preceded it, the BBC reports. The report found that Johnson deliberately misled lawmakers about lockdown-breaking parties at government offices during the pandemic. Johnson abruptly quit as an MP 10 days ago, avoiding the 90-day suspension the report called for, but lawmakers voted Monday for him to be stripped of the pass that grants most former MPs access to Parliament buildings, the Guardian reports.

Jun 15, 2023 8:45 AM CDT

Less than four years after Boris Johnson led the Conservative Party to a landslide victory, British lawmakers are preparing to vote on denying him access to the Houses of Parliament. In what Reuters calls a "damning verdict" in a report issued Thursday, a committee of lawmakers said Johnson "committed a serious contempt" by lying to the House of Commons about lockdown-breaking parties during the pandemic. The committee said Johnson's actions in the "partygate" scandal warranted a 90-day suspension from Parliament—enough to trigger a by-election. The former prime minister dodged the punishment by resigning as an MP last week after getting advance notice of the findings, the AP reports.

  • "The contempt was all the more serious because it was committed by the Prime Minister, the most senior member of the government,” the House of Commons Privileges Committee said. "There is no precedent for a Prime Minister having been found to have deliberately misled the House. He misled the House on an issue of the greatest importance to the House and to the public, and did so repeatedly." The committee said Johnson had been "complicit in a campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation" against it.

  • The seven-member committee, which includes four Conservative MPs, recommended that Johnson should not receive the former member's pass normally granted to former MPs to allow them access to Parliament, the BBC reports. Lawmakers will vote on the recommendation Monday.
  • The 108-page report issued after a 14-month investigation delivered a "brutal verdict on the former prime minister’s character," per the New York Times. It found that after boozy gatherings were held at 10 Downing Street in violation of restrictions issued by the government he led, Johnson tried to "rewrite the meaning” of the rules “to fit his own evidence." Johnson—and current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, among others—were fined by police in connection with gatherings in government buildings in 2020 and 2021.
  • A document with additional evidence issued Friday stated that there was a culture of "not adhering to any rules" at 10 Downing Street during the pandemic, with events like "Wine Time Fridays" continuing as normal, the Guardian reports. It states that staff were told not to leave in groups because they would be expected to obey social distancing regulations—when they were outside the building.
  • In a scathing statement that can be seen in full here, Johnson slammed the committee as a "kangaroo court" and said its report was "rubbish." "This is a dreadful day for MPs and for democracy," he wrote, firmly denying that he had broken any rules. He said the committee was trying to deliver "the final knife-thrust in a protracted political assassination."
(More Boris Johnson stories.)

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