LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – After it was revealed that the first of 20 lockdown fines would be given, Boris Johnson is poised to face more scrutiny from senior MPs over the “partygate” controversy.
When Mr Johnson appears before the Commons liaison committee at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, he is anticipated to be quizzed about the Russian war in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis.
Since the Metropolitan Police published the first 20 fines for lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street and Whitehall, he is sure to face more questions about “partygate.”
Downing Street has maintained its denial that the PM misled the Commons when he claimed that COVID restrictions were not infringed in No 10.
The prime minister is thought to have attended at least six of the 12 alleged lockdown-busting events being investigated by Scotland Yard.
The war has changed minds.
Since the Ukraine war began nearly five weeks ago, a total of 14 Conservative MPs have officially asked for Mr Johnson to quit over the partygate issue, and many more have quietly expressed significant doubts.
After contracting COVID, Sir Bernard Jenkin, the Tory chair of the liaison committee, had to withdraw from the session on Tuesday. Instead, the committee will appoint an acting chair.
Mr Johnson is also anticipated to be questioned by the committee, which is made up of chairs of various select committees, regarding the war in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis.
Mr Johnson warned his cabinet on Tuesday that there are “no easy answers” to the cost-of-living problem, which has been sparked by surging energy costs and prices growing at their highest rate in a generation.
In the days ahead, Mr Johnson promised to “work closely” with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, reiterating the UK’s commitment to increasing economic pressure on Moscow.
It will be Mr Johnson’s first appearance before the committee since the partygate affair erupted.
Questions on former Tory minister Owen Paterson, who was at the centre of a Westminster sleaze row last year, dominated his appearance in November.
Despite the PM backing a bid to save Mr Paterson from being suspended from the House of Commons two weeks earlier, Mr Johnson conceded Mr Paterson infringed lobbying rules.