Boris Partygate probe now delayed until 2023
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The Privileges Committee inquiry into whether or not Boris Johnson misled the House of Commons over Partygate could be delayed into January 2023. This comes after Downing Street submitted a dossier of evidence relating to Partygate four months after it was requested. The deadline for beginning oral evidence sessions had initially been set for Autumn 2022, but it is said to have since been abandoned.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be called as a witness in the evidence sessions.
But sources told the Guardian the sessions could be pushed back until after Christmas in a delay which has been blamed on the Cabinet Office digging in its heels.
It has been accused of taking more than four months to provide key information after a “hefty chunk” of documents was handed over to the committee last Friday.
The documents, initially requested in July, are said to include Mr Johnson’s diaries, event email invites, No 10 entry logs, briefing papers and WhatsApp messages.
But Government insiders told the Guardian there was no set date when they were obliged to respond to ad hoc requests for information or documents from a select committee.
The Privileges Committee said it has been meeting weekly since June to “establish processes, collect and analyse the evidence”.
A spokesperson said: “The committee has been in continued conversation with the government to obtain evidence for the inquiry.
“It requested material from the government in July, which was supplied in full last Friday.”
The spokesperson added MPs are “committed to progressing the inquiry expeditiously”.
Earlier this month, a spokesperson for currenr Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We do continue to take our responsibilities to assist the committee seriously.
“We are in correspondence with them directly and responding to their letters, to their requests. That will continue.”
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Mr Sunak himself is said to be unlikely to appear in front of the committee, chaired by Labour MP Harriet Harman, according to a source close to the six MPs sitting on it.
They added that he may not be able to give evidence on Mr Johnson’s alleged wrongdoing.
If Mr Johnson is found to have been in contempt of the House of Commons, the committee could recommend he be suspended from Parliament for 10 days.
The sanction would trigger a recall petition in his constituency, which could result in a by-election.
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