Jacob Rees-Mogg on Boris report
Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg brandished a copy of the report condemning Boris Johnson during a bitter Commons debate today.
The Conservative former Cabinet minister came armed with a printed copy of the 106-page document by the Privileges Committee which found the former PM lied to Parliament with his partygate denials.
Sir Jacob went through sections of the report during his 10-minute speech to MPs.
He said: “It is perfectly reasonable to challenge the views of select committees of this House. It is neither eccentric nor indeed rare.
“So I should like to start with some of the things I think are most contentious within the report, bordering on erroneous.”
The Tory MP criticised the sanctions recommended by the cross-party committee, including depriving Mr Johnson of the parliamentary pass usually given to MPs.
Addressing the proposed 90-day suspension from the Commons, he said: “A vindictive sanction, it seems to me, which they can’t implement because Mr Johnson has left Parliament.
“So they go from the vindictive to the ridiculous with not allowing him a parliamentary pass.
“Of all the trivial sanctions you could impose on somebody that seems to be the most miserable.”
Referring to paragraph 229, Sir Jacob questioned “on what basis” Mr Johnson “impugned” the committee.
He went on to say there is not “one single solitary shred of evidence” that Mr Johnson was “complicit in the campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation of the committee “, adding: “It’s pure assertion”.
Drawing to the end of his speech, Sir Jacob again defended criticism of the committee.
He also told MPs: “It is absolutely legitimate to criticise the conduct of a committee, to criticise the members of a committee. That is politics.
“Our politics is adversarial and that I believe is one of the great strengths of our political system.
“It is open to us within this chamber to accuse people within the bounds of good order of saying things that we disagree with. Outside this chamber freedom of speech is paramount.”
He added: “We must defend the right of freedom of speech. And, frankly, if politicians cannot cope with criticism you wonder what on earth they are doing with a political career.”
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