Partygate: Boris Johnson faces ‘despot’ charge over cover-up allegations | Political news



Boris Johnson is facing twin allegations of party cover-up, with opposition leaders accusing him of ‘behaving like a tin bully’.

The Liberal Democrats say reports that Downing Street pressured Sue Gray to water down her report reveal an attempt to cover up ‘lies and breaches of the law’.

And Labor must force a vote in the House of Commons on a decision by the prime minister to rewrite the ministerial codewhich, according to Deputy Chief Angela Rayner, “will give the green light to corruption”.

Responding to a Sunday Times report on the Gray report, MP Wendy Chamberlain, the Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, said: “This looks like another shameful attempt by Boris Johnson and the Tories to cover up their lies and their breaking of the law.

“The Privileges Committee must immediately look into the alleged interference with the publication of Sue Gray’s report. If the government has really changed the report, the British public should be told the truth.”

In its report, the Sunday Times said: “Sources, both political and civil service, say Gray was approached on Tuesday night to make changes by three senior civil servants.

“They urged her not to publish the names of some of those who had attended the 12 law-breaking parties. minister.

Find out more about Downing Street parties

“Gray told them to ‘give the instruction’ to make the changes – a move that would have required a senior minister to sign the amendments, publicly signaling that the revisions had been made against his will.”

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The report says a senior Downing Street official claimed Downing Street chief of staff Steve Barclay was approached and, after discussions with director of communications Guto Harri, declined to issue the instruction, and Cabinet Minister Michael Ellis would only execute the request if ordered to do so by Mr Barclay.

“The result of the stalemate was that a number of names were withdrawn, because by then the key pressure had already been applied,” the newspaper claims. “As many as 30 people had been contacted by Gray saying she intended to name them. In the end, only 15 people were named in the final report.”

In response to the report, a Cabinet Office spokesperson said: ‘We have not altered the report in terms of substantive content. The key point we would say about any [that suggests] the previous copy was significantly edited – it was never shared with number 10 in advance.”

Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner takes part in a Challah bake-off hosted by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis as part of his Shabbat UK project, at the Central United Synagogue in London.  Picture date: Tuesday April 26, 2022.
Deputy Labor leader Angela Rayner has accused the PM of giving ‘the green light to corruption’

Labour, meanwhile, has pledged to use an opposition day in the Commons to debate ministerial standards after Mr Johnson changed the ministerial code so ministers do not always have to resign for having violated it.

Ms Rayner said: “Boris Johnson behaves like a tin despot and tramples on the principles of public life.

“Many decent Tory MPs are deeply uncomfortable with Johnson’s behavior and they now have the opportunity to stop his sinister attempts to weaken the standards and integrity of our democracy.

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“Serious breaches of the ministerial code must lead to resignation, whether it is deliberately misleading Parliament, intimidating staff, corruption or sexual assault.

“This Prime Minister simply cannot be trusted to uphold standards in government as his conduct sinks further into the gutter and he gives the green light to corruption.

“It is time to stop the rot this prime minister has created at the heart of government and restore standards in public life.”


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