The secret Labour plot to oust seven Boris backers and force by election fight

Sunak’s answer to Peston’s question on Boris Johnson

A senior shadow Labour minister has admitted that the party is “considering” pushing to have seven supporters of Boris Johnson suspended from Parliament for 10 days in a move which could trigger another series of by-elections.

The plan is to amend a motion brought to the House of Commons on Monday chastising seven Conservative MPs who criticised the Privileges Committee for its investigation into the former Prime Minister.

The motion brought by the Privileges Committee – who objected to Boris Johnson calling them a “kangaroo court” – is amendable so could be changed to bring about a suspension.

If the suspension is 10 days or more then a recall petition can be triggered potentially leading to a byelection.

The seven MPs include former Home Secretary Dame Priti Patel, former Business Secretary Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, ex-education minister Dame Andrea Jenkyns, Workington MP Mark Jenkinson and Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith.

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The shadow Labour minister said: “Why wouldn’t we amend the motion. If you think about it the committee gave Boris Johnson 20 days and then increased it to 90 days because of his criticism of the committee.

“On that basis 10 days is the least you would expect for those MPs.

“We have nothing to lose on it and it gives us an opportunity to knock down Rishi Sunak’s majority further.”

It is understood that if an amendment comes it will be laid by a Labour backbencher because votes of the House cannot be whipped by parties.

A senior Labour backbencher is already understood to have been lobbying committee chairs to support such an amendment.

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A former Tory cabinet minister, who is not one of the seven, told that he is convinced Labour will push for a vote.

The ex-minister said: “The motion is amendable so why wouldn’t they.

“The fact is that even [Sir] Jacob would struggle to hold on to his seat in North East Somerset. Probably only [Dame] Priti would survive, the others would be gone.”

The former minister blamed Mr Sunak for not taking a stand before.

“The problem is we have been told we have to respect the great Privileges Committee when clearly it was a kangaroo court.

“Now it will be very hard for colleagues to vote against suspensions.”

Among the seven MPs there is confusion over what might happen with clarity expected tomorrow.

One pointed out that the motion cannot be whipped adding: “The Speaker [Sir Lindsay Hoyle] will intervene as it’s clear to us that he does not want this to drag out and procedure is quite tight about rewriting the motion aggressively.”

But another suggested that there could be a wider plot to clear out seven prominent MPs from the Conservative right.

The MP pointed back to the time when a group of One Nation Remainer MPs on the left of the party were suspended from the party by Boris Johnson in 2019 for voting against Brexit.

The MP said: “They [the Remainers] have been wanting revenge ever since. Getting rid of Boris was part of that.

“Remember 118 of them voted for the Privileges Committee report recently, I could well imagine a number of them voting to suspend us.

“At the very least a lot will just stay away and let Labour have their day.”

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