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MPs approve probe into claims UK premier misled parliament about lockdown parties

08:53 22 April 2022 Author :  

British parliamentarians on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a motion that would see the establishment of an investigation into claims that Prime Minister Boris Johnson lied to parliament about parties in Downing Street during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The motion, introduced by the opposition Labour Party that calls for the privileges committee to examine claims against Johnson, received the backing of MPs after no objections from government benches in the House of Commons through a nod without an official tally or vote.

“The motion I’ve tabled seeks to defend the simple principle that honesty, integrity and telling the truth matter in our politics. It’s a British principle,” Labour head Keir Starmer said.

“We have a duty here today in relation to this motion and to these principles and if we fail in our duty, the public will not forgive and forget that we have done so because this will be the parliament that failed, failed to stand up for honesty, integrity, and telling the truth in politics.

“Failed to stand up to a prime minister who seeks to turn our good faith against us and fail to stand up for our great democracy,” Starmer added.

The passing of the motion is a victory for the Labour Party and the wider opposition who have sought to scrutinize the premier’s conduct in the last two years as well as the handling of growing crises under his government, including the cost of living and recent tax hikes.

Earlier this week, Johnson had attempted to delay the motion from being debated and voted on in parliament until after the publication of the Sue Gray Report into the “Partygate” scandal, the series of lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street.

These attempts, however, were abandoned on Thursday in a major U-turn for the government, allowing Tory MPs to approve the motion without facing the party whip.

Though the motion has successfully passed, the Privileges Committee of the House of Commons will not begin its investigation into claims against Johnson until the full publication of Sue Gray’s report and until after the completion of the Metropolitan Police’s investigation.

The Metropolitan Police on Thursday announced that their investigation into the “Partygate” scandal will be paused ahead of the May local elections. This means that the parliamentary inquiry will not begin for a number of months.

The passing of the motion will add significant pressure on Johnson to resign as a number of Tory MPs have urged the prime minister to quit. Johnson, however, has remained adamant that he will remain as prime minister and lead the party through the local elections next month./aa

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