Boris Johnson to face MPs for first time since being fined for breaking lockdown rules

Boris Johnson is to face MPs today for the first time since being fined for breaking lockdown rules.

The Prime Minister is expected to apologise again in the Commons before addressing fellow Conservatives in the evening.

It comes as a senior Tory suggested a “war cabinet” could be established in lieu of a leadership contest if Mr Johnson steps down or is deposed, so as not to detract attention from the focus on Ukraine.

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Sir Roger Gale said the “interim administration” could be led by the deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab, who briefly took the reins in 2020 when Mr Johnson was hospitalised with Covid.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Phil Noble/PA

Meanwhile, Labour has pledged to “restore faith in law and order” as it claimed confidence in the justice system had collapsed under Tory management.

Downing Street denied reports over the weekend that Mr Johnson instigated a leaving do in November 2020 in which he poured drink for staff members, amid speculation further fines could follow for the Prime Minister.

Sir Roger previously submitted a letter of no confidence in Mr Johnson, which remains “on the table”, but has since said it is not the right time for a leadership election given the situation in Ukraine.

He is now keen to establish if it may be possible to put a contest on hold if the Prime Minister resigns or is forced out of his job.

While he acknowledged the UK is not currently at war, Sir Roger said “we’re pretty damn close to it”.

He said an alternative name for the arrangement could be a “crisis cabinet”.

He said: “I don’t actually know whether what I’m proposing is possible legally.

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“But if Johnson were to resign – he probably won’t – but if he were to resign, then … if the deputy prime minister led a ‘war cabinet’ to deal with the crisis and get us through to the point when we could then have a proper leadership election, that is a possible way forward.”

He added: “What I don’t know under the rules is if you have a no-confidence motion and the Prime Minister goes, do you then have to have a leadership contest?

“Or could you have what I’m suggesting, which would be an interim administration – a Conservative administration, but an interim administration – to see us through?”

Sir Roger said if “another three or four fines” were to follow, and the anticipated Sue Gray report into the saga was “damning”, then the point could be reached where “all credibility is now gone – he has got to go”.

He added: “If the Prime Minister’s credibility is shot to hell and there has to be something done, then my suggestion for a way forward would be an interim administration led by the deputy prime minister, and what effectively I have called, in shorthand, a ‘war cabinet’.

“Now, at the moment we are not technically, of course, at war, but we’re pretty damn close to it. And I think that might be a viable way forward.

“But I haven’t put this to anybody – I haven’t tried to fly it within the [backbench Conservative] 1922 Committee or anything.”

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Mr Johnson will reportedly seek to focus on issues such as Ukraine, the cost-of-living crisis and an upcoming trade visit to India, as well as updating the Commons on the UK Government’s recent energy strategy.

UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions, said belief in the criminal justice system is being “devastatingly undermined” under the Conservatives, adding that “Britain deserves better”.

A quarter of reported crimes are going unpunished due to victims not pursuing charges, new analysis from the party suggests.

Sir Keir claimed the Prime Minister shows “no respect for law and order”, adding: “How can the country have faith in the system if even when justice is served, it apparently has no consequences?”

Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were all fined for breaking Covid rules in Downing Street in June 2020.

Last week, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the public were “rightly furious” over the news, but insisted it would not be right to remove the Prime Minister during the war in Ukraine.

However, former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who now sits in the House of Lords, insisted Mr Johnson “should go”.

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She said those who stuck by the rules while their loved ones died or fell ill during the pandemic had been left feeling like Mr Johnson had made a "mockery of their sacrifice".

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