Thank you to everyone who contacted me about the parliamentary investigation into Boris Johnson.
Constituents are absolutely right to condemn the shameful comments made by Nadine Dorries, Jacob Rees Mogg, and other lackeys of Boris Johnson that question the legitimacy of the cross-party Privileges Committee.
This is just the latest in a long list of examples of Boris Johnson and his supporters undermining our democratic institutions rather than accept what is blindingly obvious to the British public – that Boris Johnson is a failed Prime Minister who disgraced himself by breaking Covid lockdown laws and then lying about it.
The Speaker has rightly written to all MPs to make clear that he takes a “very dim view… of any Member who tries to prevent the Committee from carrying out this serious work”. But this whole sorry episode shows that we don’t just need a committee investigation into Boris Johnson’s disgraceful behaviour, but rather a complete overhaul of standards in public life to ensure that no Prime Minister can ever again drag the reputation of our politics through the mud, as Boris Johnson has sadly done.
That’s why Labour would abolish the current mishmash of toothless oversight bodies and instead set up a new Integrity and Ethics Commission, with the power to influence the content of the Ministerial Code, initiate investigations into possible breaches of the Code, and impose a range of binding sanctions. We’d also ban lobbying for five years after leaving public office, and empower the commission to issue penalties for breaking business appointment rules. These are the rules that are currently being brazenly ignored by the likes of Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees Mogg, as they disgracefully trash our public institutions from well-paid TV jobs rather than serving the needs of their constituents.
We’re also committed to reforming the House of Lords, by abolishing life peerages, introducing democratic accountability, and ensuring the upper chamber has a role in safeguarding the constitution and properly representing Britain’s nations and regions.
Ultimately, only a Labour government can bring an end to this depressing era of ministerial wrongdoing and restore integrity to public life. But until then, please know that I will continue to do everything in my power to hold the Tories to account for the shameful circus we have seen in recent years.