British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face a crucial House of Commons vote this week on whether he should be referred for an investigation over his partygate statements to Parliament, it was confirmed on Tuesday.
The vote, which has been granted for Thursday, is expected to coincide with Johnson’s two-day India visit as he is scheduled for events in Ahmedabad on that day.
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle granted a request from Opposition MPs for a vote after a debate on the question of whether Johnson misled MPs when he initially said that no rules were broken, as allegations of lockdown-breaching parties within Downing Street soon escalated into a full-blown partygate scandal.
As Parliament reconvened after the Easter recess on Tuesday, Hoyle told Members of Parliament that it was not for him “to determine whether or not the Prime Minister has committed a contempt” but rather whether there was “an arguable case to be examined”.
Therefore, he said, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer could table a motion for such a debate.
“He’s not just broken the rules, he’s lied to the public and he’s lied to Parliament about it,” said Starmer.
The exact wording of the motion, which is yet to be tabled, could ask MPs to decide whether to refer Johnson to the Committee of Privileges.
Under parliamentary rules, UK government ministers are expected to resign for knowingly misleading MPs and correct the record as soon as possible if they inadvertently tell Parliament something false.
The clash stems from Johnson’s initial statement to the Commons that insisted COVID lockdown rules had been followed at No. 10 Downing Street in the wake of the first partygate allegations.