As Boris Johnson was in India yesterday, MPs were busy debating whether he should be referred to the Privileges Committee for having allegedly misled Parliament on partygate. The opposition claims that Johnson lied to MPs when he said no rules had been broken.
The government initially tried to stop the Labour motion, putting an amendment to it – the decision should not be taken before the Sue Gray report and the Met enquiry are out, it said. But yesterday morning the government withdrew it, as Tory MPs were growing wary of being asked to cover the PM right before the upcoming local elections.
The U-turn was aimed to avoid further splits in the party, yet a handful of Tory MPs still called for Johnson to go. William Wragg said it is depressing to be asked to “defend the indefensible”. Steve Baker, previously a staunch supporter of the PM, withdrew confidence in Johnson, saying he should be “long gone”. MPs approved the motion without the need for a vote. Partygate drags on.