Johnson denied special access to parliament as MPs endorse report which said he lied

Boris Johnson has been stripped of special access to parliament after MPs endorsed the privileges committee’s report that he lied about parties in Downing Street during the COVID pandemic.

MPs voted by 354 to seven to back the report’s findings.

A debate was held in the Commons on Monday afternoon asking MPs to consider the report, which found the former prime minister knowingly misled parliament multiple times with his statements about gatherings in Number 10 during lockdown.

Earlier in the day, there had been uncertainty over whether there would be a vote on the report – but after shouts of “no” were heard in the chamber, a division was held and a formal vote took place.

A total of eight Cabinet ministers backed the privileges committee report, including Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt.

The seven MPs who voted against the report were Bill Cash, Nick Fletcher, Adam Holloway, Karl McCartney, Joy Morrissey and Heather Wheeler.

Partygate report vote – how it unfolded

In its damning report, the committee recommended that Mr Johnson should have served a 90-day suspension from the Commons had he not resigned as an MP just days earlier and that he should have his right to access parliament as a former MP revoked – a sanction that attracted strong criticism from his supporters.

During the debate, a number of Tory MPs rose to their feet to criticise the conduct of Mr Johnson – including his predecessor Theresa May, who praised the committee for its “rigorous” report.

“It is not easy to sit in judgment on friends and colleagues,” she said, “but friendship, working together, should not get in the way of doing what is right.

“I commend the members of the Privileges Committee for their painstaking work, and for their dignity in the face of slurs on their integrity. To all the members of the committee, this House should… say thank you for your service.”

Harriet Harman – the Labour chair of the committee whom Mr Johnson accused of conducting a “kangaroo court” – thanked the Conservative members who took part in the probe for their “outstanding dedication and commitment”.

“They have had to withstand a campaign of threats, intimidation, and harassment designed to challenge the legitimacy of the inquiry, to drive them off the committee and thereby frustrate the intention of the House that this inquiry should be carried out,” she said.

“Yet through all this, they have not given into the intimidation.”

Ms Harman was challenged by Johnson supporter Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, who questioned whether she was appropriate to lead the inquiry given her previous tweets that had been critical of the former prime minister.

But Ms Harman confirmed that she had checked with the government that it was happy for her to chair the committee.

“I actually said I am more than happy to step aside because perception matters and I don’t want to do this if the government doesn’t have confidence in me, because I need the whole House of have confidence in the work that the committee has mandated,” she said.

“I was assured that I should continue the work that the House had mandated with the appointment that the House had put me into and so I did just that.”

Elsewhere in his speech, Sir Jacob,who received a knighthood in Mr Johnson’s controversial resignation honours list, said it was “ridiculous” to remove Mr Johnson’s right to access parliament as former MP.

He also denounced the committee’s proposed sanction of a 90-day suspension from parliament as “vindictive”.

He also told MPs that it was “absolutely legitimate to criticise the conduct of a committee, to criticise the members of a committee”, adding: “That is politics.”

Nick Fletcher, the Tory MP for Don Valley, also confirmed he would not vote for the report on the grounds that the country “needs to move on”.

The debate and vote comes after the committee’s damning verdict issued last week, found Mr Johnson guilty of impugning the committee and being complicit in a “campaign of intimidation” against its members.

The former prime minister immediately hit back at what he called a “deranged conclusion” and branded the committee’s report a “charade”, adding: “I was wrong to believe in the committee or its good faith.”

“This is a dreadful day for MPs and for democracy,” he said, adding its investigation had delivered “what is intended to be the final knife-thrust in a protracted political assassination”.

Mr Johnson dramatically quit as an MP earlier this month after receiving the committee’s draft findings.