Revenge of the Remainers: Heseltine, Dominic Grieve and Soubry hail Partygate committee’s condemnation of Boris Johnson… and surprise! It’s about Brexit
Remainer politicians joined the attacks on Boris Johnson today after MPs condemned him for lying to Parliament.
Former Deputy PM Lord Heseltine was among the senior figures lambasting Mr Johnson – arguing the verdict of the Privileges Committee should be a ‘clarion call’ to start ‘restoring our relationship’ with the EU.
Ex-Attorney General Dominic Grieve and Anna Soubry – a pro-EU minister under David Cameron – also weighed into the row.
After 14 months of investigation, the cross-party committee has concluded that Mr Johnson ‘deliberately misled’ Parliament about lockdown breaches in Downing Street.
It said he had been ‘disingenuous’ and if he had not already quit the House he should have been suspended for 90 days. That could have been the longest punishment since Keith Vaz in 2019.
Former Deputy PM Lord Heseltine argued the verdict of the Privileges Committee should be a ‘clarion call’ to start ‘restoring our relationship’ with the EU
After 14 months of investigation, the Privileges Committee concluded that Boris Johnson (pictured) ‘deliberately misled’ Parliament about lockdown breaches in Downing Street
The report also said Mr Johnson had undermined ‘democratic institutions’, and should be banned from getting a former MP pass for the Parliamentary estate.
But a titanic battle is now raging, with Mr Johnson and his allies accusing the cross-party group – which has a Labour chair but a Tory majority among the seven members – of ‘monstrous hypocrisy’ and bias against him.
A crucial debate and vote will be held on the report on Monday – Mr Johnson’s birthday. As Opposition parties are backing the verdict, the result is not in doubt, but Conservatives who fail to support him are being threatened with deselection.
Speaking on Sky News, Lord Heseltine seized on Mr Johnson’s woes to demand the restoration of ties with Europe.
‘All of this, I’m sorry to distract slightly from the subject of the report – all of this is about lying in the most senior of public offices,’ he said.
‘And you can’t escape from the consequences of that on Brexit. Because we left the EU, one of the worst decisions, one of the most regrettable decisions, most economically damaging decisions of modern times, on the basis of lies of which Boris Johnson was the principal architect.
‘It is a clarion call to begin the process of restoring our relationship with Europe. We are Europeans. We are a part of Europe. We are essential to their defence, we are dependent upon their home market. And there are no credible alternative ways in which to make a success of the British economy.’
Ex-Attorney General Dominic Grieve also weighed into the row
Anna Soubry, who quit the Tories amid Brexit infighting, tweeted a jibe about Tory MPs who have supported Mr Johnson since the referendum
Presenter Kay Burley politely told Lord Heseltine she had to ‘bring you back to the report’ rather than Brexit.
Giving his own assessment shortly after the report dropped, Mr Grieve swiped that Mr Johnson had made parliamentary sovereignty the centrepiece of ‘his Brexit’.
‘Overall Mr Johnson just chucks up smoke screens in all directions,’ he said.
‘Here is somebody who says Parliament was really important – after all it was the centrepiece of his Brexit … but when actually the House of Commons exercises its sovereign right to discipline and investigate a member of Parliament who might be in contempt, then it’s all complete rubbish.’
Ms Soubry, who quit the Tories amid Brexit infighting, tweeted: ‘Everyone with a Conservative MP should be questioning them as to their record of support for Johnson over the last 7 years.’
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