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Privilege Motion Parliamentary Debate on Partygate

UK Parliament Thursday 21st April 2022

  1. The UK government drops an attempt to delay a Commons probe into whether Boris Johnson misled MPs about lockdown parties
  2. MP’s will vote later on a Labour plan to open an investigation into the prime minister’s previous comments
  3. The government had put up its own changes to the original published motion, putting off a vote until all official probes are over. However, the amendment was dropped shortly before the debate began at 11:30 BST

Watch the debate at parliamentlive.tv. The debate started at 11:36 BST.

The main business will be a privilege motion.

That this House
(1) notes that, given the issue of fixed penalty notices by the police in relation to events in 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, assertions the Rt hon Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip has made on the floor of the House about the legality of activities in 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office under Covid regulations, including but not limited to the following answers given at Prime Minister’s Questions: 1 December 2021, that “all guidance was followed in No. 10”, Official Report vol. 704, col. 909; 8 December 2021 that “I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken”, Official Report vol. 705, col. 372; 8 December 2021 that “I am sickened myself and furious about that, but I repeat what I have said to him: I have been repeatedly assured that the rules were not broken”, Official Report vol. 705, col. 372 6 Thursday 21 April 2022 OP No.147: Part 1 Business Today: Chamber and 8 December 2021 “the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times”, Official Report vol. 705, col. 379, appear to amount to misleading the House; and (2) orders that this matter be referred to the Committee of Privileges to consider whether
the Rt hon Member’s conduct amounted to a contempt of the House, but that the Committee shall not begin substantive consideration of the matter until the inquiries currently being conducted by the Metropolitan Police have been concluded.
Amendment (a)
Line 1, leave out from “House” to end and insert: “notes that the Prime Minister has accepted mistakes were made in relation to events in 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office under Covid regulations and has
apologised to the House and to the country; further notes that a police investigation is yet to be concluded into those events and that following the conclusion of that investigation the report of the related Cabinet Office investigation will be published; and accordingly considers that a decision on whether to refer the matter of the Prime Minister’s responses to the House in relation to those events in the Cabinet Office and No 10 Downing Street to the Committee on Privileges should be taken at such time as that police investigation has officially concluded and the report following the Cabinet Office investigation has been published and subject to Mr Speaker considering that any such future motion should be given precedence as a matter of privilege thereafter for debate and decision by the House.”

A motion is a proposal put forward for debate or decision in the House of Commons or House of Lords. A motion must be proposed (moved) before any debate or vote can take place in Parliament.

A privileged motion is a motion that is granted precedence over ordinary business because it concerns matters of great importance or urgency. Such motions are not debatable, although in case of questions of privilege, the chair may feel the need to elicit relevant facts from members.

Erskine May is the authoritative book on parliamentary law and practice. It’s a description of how procedure in the House of Commons and House of Lords has evolved and the conventions that apply, rather than a set of rules.

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