Question Time audience member makes Boris Johnson claim
Boris Johnson has urged his supporters “not to die in a ditch” by voting against banning him from Parliament.
The Commons is scheduled to vote on whether to approve the report into his conduct during the course of the pandemic which found that he had repeatedly misled Parliament over whether lockdown restrictions were adhered to.
Mr Johnson quit his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat last week, launching a blistering attack on the Standards and Privileges Committee, which subsequently published its findings on Wednesday, branding the findings “deranged”.
The report said the Prime Minister’s behaviour would have merited a three-month ban from the Commons were he still an MP.
As it is, Mr Johnson is facing a life ban from having a pass for the Palace of Westminster.
Allies – notably Nadine Dorries, who has still not formally resigned as an MP herself despite saying she would do so “with immediate effect” last weekend – were thought to be ready to dig their heels in by voting against the report.
However, the looming rebellion is likely to be headed off by the 58-year-old’s intervention, with insiders saying he has told allies “not to die in a ditch” over the issue.
Speaking last night, backer Sir James Duddridge said: “I don’t think there’s going to be a vote.
“People just want to move on.”
Current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is likely to miss next week’s vote to host a European leader, according to insiders.
Meanwhile Mr Johnson’s decision to take a new role as a Daily Mail columnist is a “clear breach” of ministerial rules.
In his first 1,200-word article, the former prime minister discusses his unsuccessful personal experience with appetite-suppressants but reaches the conclusion that they could be used to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis.
The publication came shortly after the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) – the anti-corruption watchdog – wrote to him on Friday demanding an explanation after the latest claim that he has broken the standards expected of office.
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Mr Johnson landed the new job a day after he became the first ever former prime minister to be found to have lied to the Commons in the publication of the damning report into his partygate denials.
Acoba, chaired by Tory peer Lord Eric Pickles, was clear that Mr Johnson’s last-minute declaration was a breach of the rules.
A spokeswoman said: “The ministerial code states that ministers must ensure that no new appointments are announced, or taken up, before the committee has been able to provide its advice.
“An application received 30 minutes before an appointment is announced is a clear breach.
“We have written to Mr Johnson for an explanation and will publish correspondence in due course, in line with our policy of transparency.”
The Acoba rules are in place to avoid suspicion that an appointment might be a reward for past favours and to mitigate a risk a minister could exploit privileged access to Government contacts.
But the watchdog is frequently accused of being “toothless” because it cannot impose sanctions.
A spokesman for the former prime minister said: “Boris Johnson is in touch with Acoba and the normal process is being followed.”
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said Mr Johnson is “once again breaking the rules and taking advantage of a broken system for his own benefit”.
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