Commons vote puts Boris beyond the pale

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It was very important that there was a clear vote in support of the Privileges Committee vote on Boris Johnson’s lying.

354 votes to seven sounds good to me.

But spare a thought for Labour Chief Whip Sir Alan Campbell. If he had not shouted “No! No! No!” in the Speaker’s Ear and then followed it up with the procedural obligation of a “no” vote (he was one of the seven), then there would not have been a vote, which would have been disgraceful.

And yes, there were shedloads of Tory MPs who found better things to do in their diaries. Brendan Clarke-Smith tweeted from the train and appears to have attended the International Democrat Union conference yesterday, including a speech by Boris Johnson. In a tweet, he made reference to the cricket:

But this should not take away from the significance of this vote.

And by the way, we should bear in mind that, inherent in the vote accepting the report, was the agreement of the house with this statement:

We recommend that he should not be entitled to a former Member’s pass.

That is big. It’s like being black-balled in a London club for being a “bad lot”.

I think of Marcus Ball who, facing personal hardship, took Boris Johnson to court concerning his statements. Mr Ball has some vindication today.

But most of all I think of all those who lost loved ones in the Covid pandemic who had to watch their relatives die on Zoom, or had to have a curtailed funeral, or a whole list of other awful things that people went through during the lockdown.

At least the buck now seems have finally stopped.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Sad thing is – millions voted for him & many still would given the chance ….

  • Peter Davies 20th Jun '23 - 11:30am

    The problem is not that anyone thinks he is a good person. it’s that they believe all other politicians are as bad.

  • George Thomas 20th Jun '23 - 12:47pm

    Peter Davies, forgive me, but isn’t the problem that everyone knew who Boris Johnson is but enough championed his cause right up the point where it appeared he was no longer a vote winner?

    Spend public budget on water cannon which cannot legally be used, become Tory leader; hide in a fridge and become UK PM; delay Winter lockdown + send schools back for one day in England with bitter attacks on devolution and Europe – you can still be loved by Spectator, Mail, Telegraph and Times.

    The same people who lifted Boris up also dreamed up austerity politics (why were we so unprepared for a pandemic in first place? One study found over 330,000 excess deaths underpinned by austerity) and subsequently lifted up Liz Truss.

    Boris is probably the worst of the lot but he’s not an outlier as such, he’s very much part of the UK political system.

  • I have to agree with Peter Davies. On the doorstep, Johnson’s admirers default to “okay, but all politicians are just as bad – the only difference is that he got caught.” That not only avoids having to admit they backed a loser, it makes Johnson a martyr. Simples !

  • Tristan Ward 20th Jun '23 - 3:25pm

    And yet more Tory MPs decided not to turn up than did turn up. Afraid of their activists probably.

    It’s a bit like Labour MPs under Corbyn, and we should draw the parallel.

  • Martin Gray 20th Jun '23 - 5:32pm

    @Tristan Ward….’We should draw the parallel’….
    Corbyn was up against a very powerful lobby ..

  • Alex Macfie 20th Jun '23 - 5:51pm

    “[Labour Chief Whip Sir Alan Campbell] was one of the seven” not quite. He was a teller for the Noes, along with his deputy, Lilian Greenwood. So they counted the 7 Conservative MPs who passed through the No lobby, but were not themselves included in the vote count, because tellers are not.

  • Suzanne Fletcher 21st Jun '23 - 10:45am

    Much is written about Sunak not saying how he would have voted. But should he say anyway given he wasn’t there to hear a 5 hour debate. More to the point, why waste time on a debate when everyone had already made up their minds.

  • Suzanne, it was important for Parliament to speak about the report ; MPs have a duty to put on record what they think on such an important issue, which (as some rightly said) is about more than partygate, but about the working of our Parliamentary democracy. That so many Conservatives including the PM did not turn up gives added weight to our message that they are not fit to be in government.

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