Prime Minister accused of ‘blatantly corrupt move’ after changes are made to the Ministerial Code
Liz Saville Roberts, leader of the Plaid Cymru group at Westminster has accused Boris Johnson of “a blatantly corrupt move” to destroy accountability after changes to Westminster’s Ministerial Code were announced.
Her comments were made after a UK Government policy statement issued today said it was “disproportionate” to expect ministers to resign or face the sack for “minor” violations of the code’s provisions.
Instead, it has been updated, giving the Prime Minister the option of ordering a lesser sanction such as “some form of public apology, remedial action or removal of ministerial salary for a period”.
It had previously expected that ministers should go if they were found to have breached the code.
At the same time Mr Johnson has drawn back from allowing his independent adviser on the code, Lord Geidt, to mount investigations into possible violations on his own initiative.
Under his revised terms of reference, there will be an “enhanced process” to enable him to initiate inquiries, but he will still require the Prime Minister’s consent before going ahead.
“Just days after feigning contrition in response to the Sue Gray report in Parliament, Boris Johnson wrecks the Ministerial Code to allow ministers, including himself, to break the rules,” Liz Saville Roberts said.
“This is a blatantly corrupt move to destroy what’s left of democratic accountability in Westminster.
“The fact that Welsh Conservative MPs continue to condone this shocking abuse of power is truly disgraceful. Boris Johnson must be removed from office.”
Responding to the changes to the code, Labour’s Deputy leader Angela Rayner accused Boris Johnson of “downgrading and debasing the principles of public life before our very eyes.”
“In a week when Boris Johnson’s lies to Parliament about industrial rule-breaking at the heart of Government were finally exposed, he should be tendering his resignation but is instead watering down the rules to save his own skin.
“Once again, Boris Johnson has demonstrated he is not serious about his pledge to address the scandal and sleaze engulfing his Government or the frequent and flagrant breaches of standards and rule-breaking that have taken place on his watch.”
Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain said: “This is an appalling attempt by Boris Johnson to rig the rules to get himself off the hook.
“The Prime Minister shouldn’t be allowed to decide on his own punishment – with zero accountability.
“This is making him judge and jury in his own case.
“If the Privileges Committee finds Boris Johnson lied to Parliament, surely Conservative MPs will have no choice but to sack him.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.