Evidence that Boris Johnson misled parliament ‘clear cut’, says former sleaze watchdog

Tory MPs do not need to wait for Sue Gray report to resolve ‘simple issue’, says Alistair Graham

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Thursday 20 January 2022 15:31
Comments
Former standards chief Alistair Graham says evidence against Boris Johnson is 'clear cut'

Evidence of Boris Johnson lying to parliament over parties at Downing Street is “clear cut” and Conservative MPs do not have to wait for an official report to demand his resignation, a former Whitehall sleaze watchdog has said.

The ex-chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Sir Alistair Graham, said it was clear that Mr Johnson breached the ministerial code by misleading parliament, which would be a resigning matter.

While Whitehall mandarin Sue Gray was unlikely to pass judgement on whether the PM breached the code in her report into the party scandal, expected next week, Sir Alistair said it was a “simple issue” for MPs to reach their own conclusions on the evidence already available.

Sir Alistair said that fresh allegations of Tory rebels facing “blackmail” from ministers and whips to stop them from submitting letters of no confidence in Johnson could be a matter for police and would be “disastrous” for the PM if proved.

The former CPSL chief told Sky News: “The key issue for me is it looks like the prime minister – the evidence is fairly clear – misled parliament about attending parties and parties taking place.

“That would be, if he knowingly misled parliament, a breach of the ministerial code, which would be a resignation matter.

“If Conservative MPs care about standards in our democratic system, that should be the simple issue.”

There are expectations at Westminster that the publication of the Gray report will provoke a fresh wave of confidence letters which could take the total over the threshold of 54 needed to force a vote.

But Sir Alistair said: “They are waiting for the Sue Gray report, but I doubt if Sue Gray’s going to deal with this issue of a breach of a ministerial code. I think that’s beyond her pay grade.

“For me, the evidence is already clear cut that he did breach the ministerial code and therefore he should face the consequences of that.

He added: “What appals people I think, is the scale of the breach of the regulations that seem to have taken place in Downing Street, and the lack of firm management, the lack of proper leadership.

“I think does throw serious questions about whether we’ve got a prime minister and a government that is truly in charge or has allowed a culture to develop that people don’t need to consider what rules are in place and whether they should be kept to.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in