- UK Johnson 'bridges' Sunak and personally delivers his messages to Covid investigation
Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said today he will resign as a lawmaker after being told he would be sanctioned for misleading Parliament, the results of an investigation by lawmakers into misleading statements he made to Parliament about a large number of government meetings that violated pandemic lockdown rules. In a statement, he accused opponents of trying to expel him.
Johnson resigned as prime minister in 2022 amid multiple scandals but remained a lawmaker. Several dozen allies of former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who received honours from King Charles III on Friday, a list that drew cries of cronyism from opponents of the leader ousted by the monarch but chosen by the government, are an established but controversial way for outgoing leaders to reward loyal lawmakers, including former cabinet ministers Jacob Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel.
Other advisers, lawmakers and Conservative Party figures received lesser honors. The list includes several staff members implicated in the partygate scandal over meetings that broke rules in government buildings during the pandemic, including former Johnson aides Martin Reynolds and Shelley Williams-Walker. Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party, said Johnson had rewarded a "carousel of cronies" - by breaking and flattering a disgraced former prime minister.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's office said that, as is customary, the current leader did not interfere with his predecessor's honor roll. Among the disheveled Johnson's political allies, one name stood out on the list: Kelly Dodge, the longtime manager of Parliament's in-house hairdresser, was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire. One name missing from the list is former culture secretary Nadine Dorries, a staunch Johnson supporter who had received many tips to enter the Lords. She was not on the list, but has announced she would step down as a lawmaker, effective immediately. There will be a special election to take his seat in the House of Commons. Sponsorship issues are especially sensitive around Johnson, who left office in September 2022 when scandals over money, ethics and judgment turned Conservative lawmakers against him.
Johnson's Conservative predecessors Theresa May and David Cameron also handed out honours when they left office in 2019 and 2016, respectively. But the Labour prime ministers before them, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, did not use the procedure. Johnson, whose career has been a rollercoaster of scandals and comebacks, led the Conservatives to a landslide victory in 2019 but was ousted on his own less than three years later. Still a lawmaker, he is awaiting the outcome of an investigation by a House of Commons standards committee into misleading statements he made to Parliament about a large number of gatherings in government buildings in 2020 and 2021 that breached pandemic lockdown rules. Police eventually issued 126 fines for evening soirées, alcoholic parties and 'wine time Fridays', including one for Johnson, and the scandal helped hasten the end of his term as prime minister.
The committee is expected to release its report in the coming days. If he concludes that Johnson deliberately lied, he could face suspension from the House of Commons. A suspension of 10 days or more would allow his constituents to request a special election to replace Johnson as a member of Parliament.
- United Kingdom
- Boris Johnson
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