New pressure to axe Partygate probe as Tory MP who called for Boris Johnson to resign raises doubts over the inquiry

  • Tory MP Laura Farris called for a new vote on Privileges Committee investigation
  • Separately, allies of Mr Johnson  are urging colleagues to abandon the probe 
  • One said it felt ‘unnecessary’ and ‘divisive’ in wake of Queen Elizabeth’s death

Pressure was mounting on the Commons last night to ditch the Partygate probe into Boris Johnson after one of the MPs originally due to sit on the inquiry raised doubts about it. 

Tory MP Laura Farris, who had called for Mr Johnson to resign, called for a fresh vote on the Privileges Committee investigation, saying the ‘context had fundamentally changed’ since Mr Johnson quit as Prime Minister. 

Ms Farris, who announced this summer that she was standing down from the committee, said that the Commons ‘should be asked again what its view’ was on the probe into the ex-PM’s behaviour. 

Tory MP Laura Farris is asking for a fresh vote on the Privileges Committee investigation, saying the ‘context had fundamentally changed’ since Boris Johnson quit as Prime Minister

Separately, allies of Mr Johnson – praised for his tribute to the Queen – are urging colleagues to abandon the probe in the light of her death. 

One said privately: ‘After the Commons came together so wonderfully to bid farewell to Her Majesty, it all feels so unnecessary to carry on with this divisive investigation.’ 

The probe into whether Mr Johnson lied to the Commons over lockdown-breaching parties could lead to him facing a by-election. 

His allies have called the inquiry a show trial after the committee decided it would not have to prove he had knowingly misled MPs. 

Leading QC Lord Pannick has branded the inquiry ‘fundamentally flawed’, saying it would be declared unlawful were it not protected from challenge in the courts. 

Now, Ms Farris has said MPs should reconsider. She told the Daily Telegraph: ‘It may be right that there is room for the House to consider the issue again.’ 

Allies of Mr Johnson – praised for his tribute to the Queen – are also urging colleagues to abandon the probe in the light of the monarch’s death

The MP said she quit the committee ‘because I had understood we were really dealing with this issue of the ministerial code’, adding: ‘He’s no longer the PM so the ministerial code doesn’t apply.’ 

Last week, Sir Bernard Jenkin, the most senior Tory MP on the committee, played down the threat to Mr Johnson’s parliamentary career from the inquiry. 

He told the BBC: ‘Do you think it is possible that a committee could recommend a sanction against a member for inadvertently misleading the House? It is totally absurd.’ 

Committee sources responded to Ms Farris’s remarks by pointing out that legal adviser Sir Ernest Ryder had already said that the ‘ministerial code is a completely separate process to this inquiry.’

Leading QC Lord Pannick has branded the inquiry ‘fundamentally flawed’, saying it would be declared unlawful were it not protected from challenge in the courts

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