MPs dismiss claims inquiry into Boris Johnson is ‘unfair’ and ‘flawed’

MPs dismiss claims inquiry into Boris Johnson is ‘unfair’ and ‘flawed’


Ps investigating whether or not Boris Johnson misled Parliament over lockdown events in Downing Road have rejected a declare that their procedures are “unfair” and “basically flawed”.

A authorized opinion commissioned by the Authorities from senior barrister Lord Pannick KC shortly earlier than Mr Johnson left workplace warned the investigation by the Commons Privileges Committee can be dominated illegal by the courts.

However in its response, the committee stated its personal authorized advisers had discovered that Lord Pannick’s opinion was based on “a systemic misunderstanding of the parliamentary course of and misplaced analogies with the felony regulation”.

It rejected Lord Pannick’s view {that a} honest process required that Mr Johnson ought to be capable to be represented at its hearings by counsel who would give you the chance converse on his behalf and cross-examine witnesses.

It stated that whereas witnesses have been allowed to be accompanied by a authorized adviser, it will require a change within the procedures of the Home to permit them to participate within the hearings.

The committee additionally dismissed Lord Pannick’s argument {that a} failure by the committee to make an express distinction on whether or not Mr Johnson misled MPs deliberately might have a “chilling impact” on parliamentary debate, with MPs afraid of mis-speaking.

It famous there have been well-established methods for minister to right the report when the Home was misled, which had been used on the fee of greater than 200-a-year in recent times.

Mr Johnson in his ministerial profession had made a lot of formal corrections, together with on 5 events when he was international secretary.

The committee, chaired by the senior Labour MP Harriet Harman, rejected Lord Pannick’s declare that Mr Johnson must give proof earlier than he knew the case in opposition to him.

“The committee’s decision on process makes clear that there can be a number of alternatives for Mr Johnson to contemplate the proof and reply to factors made by different witnesses or the committee, concluding in a chance to touch upon any criticisms included within the draft of the ultimate report,” it stated.

“It isn’t the case that Mr Johnson can be known as to provide proof with out figuring out the element of the case that he has to fulfill. That may be a basic misunderstanding of the committee’s process.”

The committee stated that all through the method it had adopted the “clear, neutral and unambiguous recommendation” it had obtained from its personal authorized advisers, together with Sir Ernest Ryder, a former president of tribunals within the UK and Lord Justice of Attraction.

It rejected what it stated had been the “unacceptable” assaults which it had been subjected to “from some quarters”, saying they may represent a possible contempt of Parliament.

“The committee’s work, and by implication the Home as a complete, has been topic to a lot groundless criticism and remark, extending to non-public assaults from some quarters on members of the committee,” it stated.

“Such a marketing campaign is unprecedented and ought to be considered unacceptable; in some cases these assaults represent a possible contempt of Parliament as a result of they seem like designed to impede the functioning of the Home.”

The committee additionally sharply criticised the way in which through which the Authorities had printed Lord Pannick’s opinion slightly than submitting it to the committee in proof, saying it was “extremely irregular”.

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