Boris Johnson faces vote on misleading Parliament as he repeats apology for breaking covid laws

Boris Johnson is set to face a vote on whether he misled Parliament on a day that also saw him offer another apology for breaking Covid laws.

The Prime Minister once again claimed he was not aware at the time he was breaking the rules, despite having written them himself.

His latest apology came on a gruelling day for the Prime Minister, that also saw Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he had approved an application from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer for a motion on Thursday.

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Making his statement, Mr Johnson claimed he paid the fine for breaking the law immediately, and had already offered a “full apology”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts after apologising to MPs
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He said: “I take this opportunity, on the first available sitting day, to repeat my wholehearted apology to the House.

“As soon as I received the notice, I acknowledged the hurt and the anger, and I said that people had a right to expect better of their Prime Minister.

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“Let me also say – and not by way of mitigation or excuse but purely because it explains my previous words in this House – that it did not occur to me, then or subsequently, that a gathering in the Cabinet Room just before a vital meeting on Covid strategy could amount to a breach of the rules.

“I repeat: that was my mistake and I apologise for it unreservedly.”

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The Prime Minister then sought to use the Ukraine crisis to deflect from his behaviour, and stressed he was even more focused on the “priorities of the British people”.

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After briefly repeating his apology, Mr Johnson used the rest of his statement to laud the achievements of his own Government.

He said: This Government is joining with our allies to face down Putin’s aggression abroad, while addressing the toughest problems at home, helping millions of families with the cost of living, making the streets safer, and funding the NHS to clear the Covid backlog.

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My job is to work every day to make the British people safer, more secure and more prosperous and that is what I will continue to do and I commend this statement to the House.

Earlier Sir Lindsay told MPs he had “no jurisdiction over the ministerial code” and whether it had been breached, but instead could “decide whether there is an arguable case to be examined”.

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Having taken advice from clerks on the matter, the Speaker said he had decided to allow Sir Keir to table his motion.

Labour is understood to be wording the motion to make Thursday’s vote about whether to refer Mr Johnson to the Committee of Privileges, which examines issues relating to contempt of Parliament.

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The committee has the power to summon reports and documents, meaning it could could request to see the full version of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry into the Downing Street lockdown gatherings and any potential photographic evidence that exists.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to be on a Government trip to India later this week, meaning he will not be in Westminster for the vote on Thursday.

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A Labour source: “Any Conservative MP considering voting to block this investigation would be voting for a cover-up.

“They should reflect on the mess they got themselves into over Owen Paterson before falling into line.”