Northumberland MP says he would have backed motion to investigate ‘partygate’

A North East Conservative MP has said he would have backed a motion calling for an investigation into whether the Prime Minister misled parliament – had it actually gone to a vote.

By James Robinson
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 11:57 am
Updated Monday, 25th April 2022, 11:40 am

Boris Johnson is facing an official investigation into whether he lied to the House when claiming no rules had been broken in Downing Street during lockdown, after MPs backed a Labour motion on Thursday.

The Privileges Committee will now probe Mr Johnson’s conduct, and could find him in contempt of Parliament. It comes after Tory MPs withdrew their objections and the motion was ‘nodded through’ without opposition.

Blyth Valley MP Ian Levy – who previously said the public “deserved better” after Mr Johnson admitted he attended a garden party at Number 10 during the first lockdown – has now confirmed he intended to vote for Labour’s motion and said there must be an investigation.

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Blyth MP Ian Levy.

He added: “Many Blyth Valley constituents have contacted me about today’s Commons vote on whether or not to refer the Prime Minister to the Privileges Committee.

“It was my intention to vote for the motion – due process must be followed and the House of Commons should investigate whether there was any breach of the Ministerial Code.

“I would have been voting for a fair and neutral investigation and in the end the view of the House was so overwhelmingly in favour of this that there was no need for a formal, recorded vote through the lobbies.

“The Speaker asks the House for their opinion on a matter and we have to shout ‘aye’ or ‘no’ depending on our view. If there is no dissent and everyone seems to shout the same way then the Speaker accepts that as the will of the House.

“MPs only shouted ‘aye’, meaning the whole House agreed the matter should be investigated – quite rightly.”

The motion, tabled by Labour leader Keir Starmer, identified four comments by Mr Johnson that “appear to amount to misleading the house.” These where:

1 December 2021: ‘All guidance was followed in No10’ 8 December 2021 ‘I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken’ 8 December 2021: ‘I am sickened myself and furious about that, but I repeat what I have said to him: I have been repeatedly assured that the rules were not broken’ 8 December 2021: ‘The guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times’

An attempt by Conservative whips to delay the investigation was abandoned as Labour’s motion already said the probe should not begin until the Met Police finished its own investigation.