Privileges Committee chairman Chris Bryant says he will step aside to allow PM probe
The chairman of the House of Commons Privileges Committee has confirmed when he will stand down to allow an inquiry to go ahead into whether the Prime Minister lied to Parliament over partygate.
Rhondda MP Chris Bryant said in a statement on Friday that he has summoned the committee to a meeting on June 7 to finalise business before a new head is elected.
It follows the publication on Wednesday of the Sue Gray report into Downing Street gatherings, which said “senior leadership” at No 10 must “bear responsibility” for the culture that led to lockdown rules being broken at a series of events in 2020 and 2021.
Last month, Mr Bryant sent a letter to the committee saying he would recuse himself from his position as it was “important that the House be seen to proceed fairly without any imputation of unfairness” following his public criticism of Boris Johnson.
It has been widely reported that former Labour Party leader Harriet Harman will be put forward by her party to replace him.
Mr Bryant said in a statement: “I have summoned a meeting of the Commons Privileges Committee for Tuesday 7 June to dispose of its outstanding business, namely a report on the powers of select committees, to follow up our earlier (May 2021) report on which we have been consulting.
“That done, a motion to replace me on the committee with another Labour MP will go before the House, then the committee will meet again to elect a new chair and start its inquiry into the conduct of the Prime Minister, in which I will take no part as I have recused myself.”
Mr Johnson has defied calls to quit after the Gray report and denied that he misled Parliament.
If the committee finds him in contempt of Parliament, it could recommend he is forced to apologise, suspended from the Commons, or even expelled. Any sanction would need to be approved in a vote by all MPs.
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No doubt he will be replaced by a bunch of tories.
It’s going to very hard to find anybody who hasn’t criticized ‘The Suspect’ !!!
I’m not always the biggest fan of Chris Bryant. But this is absolutely the right action on his part. But as Erisian and GW Atkinson say, there’s not many obvious candidates to replace him. The very existence of someone as shady as Boris Johnson in high orifice provokes a dash to the extremes. The fundamentalist fervour of the Johnsonites, for whom there are no crimes which cannot be dismissed with a wave of a hand and a trite “getting on to do more important things” on one side, and decent (by political standards) but angry people on the other side… Read more »