Boris Johnson trying to take his bat and ball home over change in ministerial code

Ex-Tory MP slams Boris over change to ministerial code

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s change to the ministerial code so that ministers will not always be expected to resign for breaching the code of conduct has been received with a barrage of criticism. Labour and Liberal Democrats accused Mr Johnson of rigging the system to “get himself off the hook” ahead of an inquiry into his own conduct. The Prime Minister himself is currently under investigation into whether he lied to Parliament over lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street that could potentially be a breach of the ministerial code itself. 

Tory MP turned Labour MP Christian Wakeford told GB News: “It’s very kind of circumstantial timing where it looks like the Prime Minister is basically trying to take his bat and ball home because he doesn’t like the rules he’s currently playing to.

“If anything, he’s showing that he’s not only a threat to democracy but a threat to the rule of law itself.

“If he’s going to try and show that rules can be broken, law can be broken with no real recompense and punishment, then why should anyone else follow the law that his government is trying to force on everyone.

“It’s absolutely wrong, the timing is even worse but he should really be going back to the drawing board and be rethinking this.”

The Committee on standards in public life published a report in November 2021, saying: “To those outside government, a relatively minor breach of process can be misunderstood as a serious breach of ethical standards.

“But how do you define a serious rule break?”

“We’ve got a criminal prime minister who’s actually been proven to have broken the law.

“We’ve had a home secretary who’s been accused of bullying her own staff.

“We’ve had senior ministers also under investigation at the moment. So, what rule do you have to break for it to be deemed serious?”

When asked about his take on the committee’s recommendation to draw the distinction between a minor and a major breach, Mr Wakeford said: “Well, I think the difference here is who justifies what is minor and what is serious.

“Again, it’s the Prime Minister who’s the ultimate arbiter of the ministerial code.

“He’s the Prime minister so if he decides that actually, it’s just the Westminster bubble type issue, or it is not serious in his eye.

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“And again, this is a prime minister who has been guilty of breaking the law”, Mr Wakeford continued.

“Then…. You know, there isn’t going to be any punishment. There isn’t going to be any justice here.

“There isn’t going to be any punishment.

“So, what is okay to try to justify, trying to justify the difference between minor and serious, the ultimate arbiter is someone who clearly can’t tell the difference themself.”

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