The Speaker
Wednesday, 17 July 2024 – 20:50

Johnson questioned about ministerial code at PMQs

Sir Keir Starmer questioned Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions about his handling of the ministerial code, claiming a “clean sweep” of breaches.

Starmer questioned the Prime Minister on bullying, harassment, leaking, conflicts of interest and the ‘wasting’ of public money.

Mr Johnson faced questions from MPs over video-link on Wednesday lunchtime, as he is currently self-isolating in Downing Street.

The Prime Minister was questioned about what “message” it sends that his independent adviser on standards resigned after leading an inquiry into bullying allegations against Priti Patel. 

It is understood that in the inquiry’s report, Sir Alex Allan found Ms Patel’s approach on occasions “amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying”, however, the Prime Minister decided to back the Home Secretary. Speaking at PMQs, Mr Johnson refused to apologise for “standing by” the Home Secretary, saying she had apologised and that she was “getting on with delivering the people’s priorities”.

At one point during PMQs, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle reminded the Prime Minister that it was Prime Minister’s Questions and not “Leader of the Opposition Questions”, after Mr Johnson tried to ask Sir Keir Starmer a question about Jeremy Corbyn. Mr Johnson had said that he’d take the ministerial code “a lot more seriously” if Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t still a member of the Labour Party.

The PM also dismissed questions on alleged breaches of the ministerial code as “trivia”.

Sir Keir Starmer questioned the PM on the use of public money, adding “If you’ve got a hotline to ministers you get a blank cheque, but if you’re on the front line tackling COVID, you’re picking up the bill”.

The PM was later asked a question by Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats who said that he had previously asked the Prime Minister to support unpaid carers by increasing Carer’s Allowance by £20 a week. Sir Davey asked why this had not been provided when the government “have found hundreds of millions for contracts handed out to Conservative Party cronies”.

The PM said he would be “happy” to look at “that specific grant again”, before going on to talk about previous increasing of support for Universal Credit.

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