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Lawmakers approve report finding Boris Johnson deliberately misled Parliament

The House of Commons voted by a large majority Monday to endorse the finding of an internal investigation that found former Prime Minister Boris Johnson misled MPs over lockdown parties in No. 10. Photo via Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/UPI
1 of 2 | The House of Commons voted by a large majority Monday to endorse the finding of an internal investigation that found former Prime Minister Boris Johnson misled MPs over lockdown parties in No. 10. Photo via Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/UPI | License Photo

June 20 (UPI) -- British lawmakers have approved the final report of a year-long probe that found former Prime Minister Boris Johnson guilty of intentionally misleading the House of Commons when he told it there had been no lockdown parties at Downing Street.

Following a debate, MPs voted 354-7 Monday night to adopt the Privileges Committee report and the sanctions it recommends, including banning Johnson from setting foot in the Parliamentary Estate in the future.

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Senior Conservatives who voted in favor included Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and former Prime Minister Theresa May.

"It is doubly important for us to show that we are prepared to act when one of our own, however senior, is found wanting," said May.

"Following an unsettling period in our political life, support for the report of the privileges committee will be a small but important step in restoring people's trust in members of this house and of parliament."

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Johnson faced stinging criticism from a number of Conservative MPs because of threats in recent days against panel members -- and one MP in particular -- after Johnson called the committee a "kangaroo court" that meant their security had to be stepped up.

"He is a voluntary magistrate as well as serving his constituents in this place," said back bench MP Angela Richardson.

"Shame, shame, shame on those who are working to undermine him and his future prospects. He is a decent and honorable member, as are all members of the privileges committee."

The panel was made up of four Conservative MPs, two Labor and one from the SNP.

However, the decision was not completely unanimous as there are 635 voting MPs in the House, meaning 274 abstained or were absent and only a little more than a third of 350 Conservative MPs voted to approve the report.

The seven Johnson supporters who voted against questioned the impartiality of the report which concluded Johnson's actions constituted a series of serious contempts of Parliament and further that Johnson had tried to undermine the investigation and was "complicit in a campaign of abuse and intimidation of the committee."

Johnson will now be denied a former members' pass to Parliament but the report's main recommendation -- a 90-day suspension from Parliament -- cannot be enforced because he resigned his seat as the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip on Friday.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was one of those who stayed away from the House of Commons on grounds he did not want to influence a "free vote" -- meaning the government does not require its MPs to vote a certain way -- and that he had official duties to attend to.

But opposition Labor said Sunak was "too weak to lead a party too divided to govern."

The Liberal Democrats' deputy leader, Daisy Roberts, accused Sunak of a "cowardly cop-out," saying "his failure to vote says all you need to know about his leadership."

Johnson reportedly requested his backers not vote down the report because it was academic given he has already stepped down as an MP, but opponents alleged the tactic was to avoid the embarrassment of showing how little support he retained among fellow Conservatives.

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