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Minister Urges Tory MPs To Vote Against Labour "Shenanigans" Over Partygate Probe

Minister Urges Tory MPs To Vote Against Labour 'Shenanigans' Over Partygate Probe

Boris Johnson will miss the Commons vote because of a two day visit to India

3 min read

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has said the Commons should wait for the police to finish their investigation before launching their own Partygate probe.

MPs are set to vote on a Labour motion in the Commons today which would launch an investigation into whether the Prime Minister misled Parliament over gatherings in Downing Street after he repeatedly insisted lockdown rules had been followed at "all times".

The government to table an amendment to the motion on Wednesday evening stating that Johnson had "accepted mistakes were made" but insisted formal Commons scrutiny should wait until after the police investigation has concluded.

Speaking on Wednesday, Boris Johnson again apologised for breaching Covid rules and said he had accepted the police conclusions, and had paid the fixed penalty notice issued over his attendance at a birthday party held for him in June 2020.

The Prime Minister could face further police penalties over his involvement with other gatherings in Whitehall which are still being investigated by police.

Speaking to Sky News, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi urged his colleagues to vote for the government amendment to ensure that "due process" was followed.

"If you want to play politics with this, then the shenanigans that Labour are attempting today are the route," he said. 

"If you want to follow due process then you allow the police to complete their investigation, you allow the Sue Gray report to be published, then the privileges committee can look at that.

"That is what I will be voting for today, the amendment is the right chronology and the right way to follow due process."

The proposed investigation would be led by the privileges committee which has the power to investigate Johnson's comments and whether they constituted a breach of the ministerial code.

A number of senior ministers, including Chancellor Rishi Sunak, have already said that any minister found to have breached the code would be expected to resign from their role.

But Zahawi said waiting for the police investigation to conclude before launching a probe was the "right thing to do".

He added: "I think you'll find most of my colleagues, who are fair-minded, who believe in due process, will vote for the amendment - because it's the right thing to do."

The comments come after shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said he believed "decent" Tory MPs were torn over how to vote.

He added: "I fear that many of them, despite their misgivings about Boris Johnson... will troop through the lobby like lemmings because they don't have the courage to stand up for what is right."

But Boris Johnson, who will miss the vote as a result of a trip to India, insisted he was not planning to resign, telling reporters he would lead his party into the next general election.

He said: "I think the best thing that we can all do is focus on the things that really change and improve the lives of voters and stop talking about politicians."

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