Boris Johnson will no longer have a pass to Parliament after MPs voted to back sanctions against him in the apparent final chapter of his parliamentary career.
Watched over by Sir Ian McKellen, MPs debated the privileges committee report which ruled the former prime minister had “deliberately misled” and committed “serious contempt”.
It followed an investigation into whether he lied over lockdown-busting parties taking place in No10 during Covid-19 which Johnson railed against as a “kangaroo court”.
MPs voted 354 in favour of removing the former PM’s pass to the Palace of Westminster, with seven against, suggesting close to 300 MPs abstained or were absent from the vote.
It was widely seen as a key test of Johnson’s remaining support and of Rishi Sunak’s leadership – after he was branded weak for refusing to commit to a vote and steering clear.
The committee, led by Labour’s Harriet Harman, had recommended a 90-day suspension as an MP – but Johnson preemptively quit as Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, triggering a by-election in protest – leaving the symbolic pass removal as the sanction.
Commons leader Penny Mordaunt had said MPs were voting to say if the “conclusions and sanctions propose[d] are correct and reasonable” and that she would be voting in favour.
Johnson’s successor in office, Liz Truss, said the judgement was “overly harsh”, while current PM Rishi Sunak said he did “not wish to influence” MPs who were given a free vote.
Johnson’s former private secretary Lia Nici defended him, saying: “I cannot see where the evidence is… the reality is Johnson did not knowingly or intentionally mislead this House.”
Brexit-era prime minister Theresa May said she backed the committee and urged Tory MPs to show they were “prepared to act when one of our own, however senior, is found wanting”.
Harman told the House the committee members had faced abuse and warned that such attacks “erode public confidence and thereby undermine our democracy”.
Labour’s Dame Angela Eagle railed against Johnson as a “narcissistic man child” who had been “left in disgrace” and described the verdict as “damning” and “egregious”.
Scottish National Party (SNP) Commons leader Deidre Brock said MPs who abstained were showing “cowardly refusal” and Johnson’s taxpayer funded legal fees should be recovered.