‘The gig is over’: Senior Tory MP Steve Baker says PM should be ‘long gone’ | Political news

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Boris Johnson “should be long gone”, a Tory backbench MP has said during a key parliamentary debate on partygate.

Steve Baker had only two days ago offered the Prime Minister his support after he apologized to the Commons following his fine for breaking lockdown rules.

Mr Baker revealed his change of heart as MPs debated whether to order an inquiry into whether the Prime Minister had misled them party door.

Live Politics: Surprise U-turn ahead of party inquiry debate

Shortly before the debate, the government dropped its bid to delay the vote – which had been put forward by Labor and backed by other opposition parties.

Mr Baker said he believed ‘Mr Johnson’s wonderful contrition… only lasted as long as it took to get out of the principal’s study’.

“I have to admit that if the prime minister was in another senior position…he would be long gone,” he said.

“The Prime Minister should now be long gone. The Prime Minister should just know the concert is over.”

Labor has tabled a motion to refer Mr Johnson to the privileges committee over his initial claims that no lockdown rules had been breached.

Tory MPs had previously been asked to support an amendment delaying a vote on such a motion until separate investigations by police and civil servant Sue Gray have been completed.

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“Due process” must be followed on partygate – Zahawi

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, speaking to Sky News, predicted his Tory colleagues would support the move, describing it as “the right thing to do”.

But Tory members were later told they would have a free vote – and the amendment was dropped.

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said Mr Johnson had been involved in the decision, adding: ‘We are now satisfied that any parliamentary process takes place after the Met inquiry and after the publication of the Sue Gray report.

But Labor said it was ‘humiliating’ for the Tories.

Earlier the prime minister – speaking during a visit to India – urged MPs to wait until they have ‘all the facts’ and for investigators to ‘do their job and then hit this thing over the head’.

He has also vowed to fight for the next election as Conservative leader.

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‘Most people think the Prime Minister lied’ – Streeting

Prime Minister ‘covered up his misdeeds’ – Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer, tabling the motion to order a parliamentary inquiry, said Mr Johnson had ‘stood outside the despatch box and categorically denied there had been a breach of the rules – when it happened product”.

“In doing so, he hoped to gain further protection from our good faith, that no Prime Minister would ever deliberately mislead this House,” Sir Keir added.

“He used our faith, our conventions, to cover up his misdeeds.

“After months of denials, of nonsensical claims that all the rules were followed, of feigned outrage at his staff discussing the breach of the rules, we now know the law has been broken.

“We know the Prime Minister has broken the law and we know he is at risk of being convicted again and again and again.”

“The PM is a liar”

William Wragg, a Tory MP who has previously described the Prime Minister’s position as untenable, told the Commons: ‘Even though I have tried I cannot come to terms with the Prime Minister’s continued leadership of our country and the party conservative.”

He said it was “totally depressing to continue to be asked to defend the indefensible”.

SNP leader Ian Blackford said: “The Prime Minister of the UK is a liar. I really don’t say that lightly and I don’t say it vaguely.”

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Pressure on Mr Johnson over partygate has since resumed he was fined last week for attending a rally on his birthday in June 2020 – in violation of lockdown laws.

He is also believed to have attended some of the other 12 events in Downing Street and Whitehall in 2020 and 2021 being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.

In a recent update on the investigation, the Met said it had returned more than 50 fixed penalties to be issued.

Scotland Yard said on Thursday that it would not provide further updates on the probe only after the local elections on 5 May.

The government has changed the priority on partygate – and this is important

Sam Coats

Sam Coats

Deputy Political Editor

@SamCoatesSky

What just happened in the Commons matters – even if it’s not immediately obvious. The government has changed its priority.

Until 11.15am, Number 10’s priority was to avoid a new investigation into Boris Johnson. The government was proposing a vote on a motion that would delay a decision on whether to hold an inquiry into whether the Prime Minister lied for weeks until the conclusion of the police work and Sue Gray’s report. It was a plan to kick the box on the road. But Conservative MPs had to actively support him in electoral lobbies.

At 11:15 a.m., government tactics changed. They decided their priority was to avoid any kind of voting. Instead they will allow the inquiry to go forward, backed by all sides ‘on nod’ – meaning MPs won’t be asked to go through divisive lobbies .

This is probably because the priority has become to avoid any type of vote that could reveal the extent of the Tory MP’s unease. This perhaps suggests that Tory MPs’ support for the Prime Minister is less than they would like to publicize. Instead, the Conservative whips will likely try to pressure the four Conservatives on the committee, who are more than two to one than the opposition MPs, to ensure

The conclusion from what happened is that the Conservative parliamentary party is less supportive of Mr Johnson than they want to show publicly. The Prime Minister, of course, cannot say that because he is in India. But it’s not something you can hide for long.



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