York MP Rachael Maskell has asked why Boris Johnson hasn’t been suspended over revelations that a ‘bring your own booze’ party was held at Downing Street during a Covid lockdown.
The Prime Minister has been under growing pressure to say whether he was at the gathering in May 2020 – after an email from his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds to Downing Street staff was leaked on Monday.
In the Commons today, Labour’s Ms Maskell said: “When someone’s alleged conduct undermines the integrity of their role; when it undermines the authority of their role, when it undermines the trust in their role, they are suspended.
“When somebody is under investigation, they are suspended. So why isn’t the Prime Minister suspended?”
Replying for the government, Paymaster General Michael Ellis said that an investigation into the matter was already underway.
“Well, the investigation is about gatherings, not about necessarily individuals… and gatherings on various dates,” he told Ms Maskell.
“I’ve already said that if those inquiries lead to other developments, then remedial action will follow. We have expected and we continue to expect anyone who is asked to cooperate with that investigation to do so.”
Downing Street has refused to say if the Prime Minister was present at the party, despite reports that he and his wife Carrie were among around 30 people to attend at a time when such gatherings were banned.
Mr Johnson has said it is a matter for Sue Gray, the senior civil servant who is investigating a series of reported parties in Downing Street and elsewhere in Whitehall in the course of 2020.
Amid growing public anger two snap polls found a majority now believed Mr Johnson should stand down as Prime Minister.
A Savanta ComRes study found 66% of British adults thought he should quit, with 24% saying he should stay while a YouGov survey for Sky News found 56% believed he should go, with 27% saying he should remain.