Boris Johnson, 57, is avoiding an emergency parliamentary debate after a lobbying case and other scandals. The British Prime Minister has come under pressure to respond to parliamentarians after trying to protect corrupt MP Owen Patterson.
Patterson had lobbied for the companies for a fee, according to a parliamentary committee, violating the rules. The committee recommended that Patterson be suspended for 30 days, but this could jeopardize his seat.
Johnson’s Conservative Party intervened. A House of Commons vote fell on Patterson’s comment. Instead, lawmakers from the ruling party have been tasked with supporting a proposal to form a new committee to look into the matter and come up with new rules. In fact it will be controlled by conservatives.
The House of Commons narrowly approved the composition of the committee, sparking a major political row. The opposition announced a boycott of the new commission and criticism was also drawn within Johnson’s party. In the end, the government was forced to allow Parliament to vote to suspend Patterson’s work. He eventually came to his own conclusions and announced his departure last week.
Criticism of Johnson’s party escalated last weekend after the Sunday Times revelations. That newspaper reported that wealthy Tory supporters seemed almost certain to secure a seat in the unelected House of Lords if they backed the Conservatives with more than £3 million.
“No apology yet”
“The country has yet to receive an apology for Johnson’s attempt to set different rules for his party than the rest,” said Liberal Democrat Wendy Chamberlain. “There are a lot of conflicts of interest that need to be investigated.”
Johnson stressed that his government takes allegations of corruption seriously, but it has not appeared in Parliament. He was in the north of England visiting hospital staff. His spokesman confirmed that the prime minister boarded the train this time. Johnson also recently faced a storm of criticism for flying a private jet from Climate Summit to London for dinner.
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