Where Is Boris Johnson On The Day MPs Debate Sleaze?

, Where Is Boris Johnson On The Day MPs Debate Sleaze?, The Evepost Huff News

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends Diwali celebrations in Neasden over the weekend

Boris Johnson will avoid today’s emergency debate on MPs’ sleaze due to a “long-standing” visit to the north-east of England.

The prime minister’s official spokesman revealed that Johnson was on a hospital visit to “see the importance of NHS staff getting their booster jabs”.

Instead, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay will represent the government.

The spokesman insisted Mr Barclay was the right person to appear at the debate because of his cross-government role.

He said Johnson’s visit was a “long-standing plan for him to go up there and see the importance of NHS staff getting their boosters”.

The spokesman insisted the visit was planned before the standards debate was scheduled and because he is travelling by train – he would not arrive back in Westminster in time for the debate.

Asked why he could not fly back to London as he did from the Cop26 summit last week, the spokesman said: “I gave you the reason for that flight before.”

, Where Is Boris Johnson On The Day MPs Debate Sleaze?, The Evepost Huff News

However, the Labour Party sought to capitalise on the PM’s absence by launching social media graphics and accusing him of “running scared”. 

It comes just a few hours after a cabinet minister suggested Johnson did not need to attend the debate and could follow proceedings on a TV in his office. 

International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said instead, Johnson should be focusing on “important” prime ministerial matters.

It follows an extraordinary week in the House of Commons in which the government faced accusations of a return to “1990s sleaze culture”. 

Last Thursday, Johnson was forced to u-turn over a controversial plan to prevent Tory MP Owen Paterson facing a 30-day commons suspension for a serious breach of lobbying rules. The row resulted in Paterson quitting as an MP. 

The government is set to face another tough few days with further allegations of sleaze emerging in the Sunday papers. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that a no-show by the prime minister in Monday’s debate would demonstrate he was “either too arrogant or too cowardly to take responsibility” for the Paterson lobbying scandal.

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