Daily Mail

Deputy Speaker probed over lockdown ‘ party’ with Boris inquisitor’s wife

- By David Churchill Chief Political Correspond­ent

A DEPuTY speaker of the Commons is being probed by Parliament’s sleaze watchdog over an alleged lockdown-busting party also attended by Sir Bernard Jenkin, one of Boris Johnson’s Partygate inquisitor­s.

Dame Eleanor Laing is being investigat­ed by Standards Commission­er Daniel greenberg over a ‘birthday drinks’ bash for Baroness Jenkin, Sir Bernard’s wife, in December 2020 which allegedly broke lockdown rules.

Tory backbenche­r Virginia Crosbie is also being probed.

The event, alleged to have been held in the Commons office of Dame Eleanor, took place at a time when all indoor socialisin­g was against Covid19 regulation­s in England.

It is claimed alcohol and cake were on offer with at least ten guests present. One source has claimed that social distancing rules ‘went out of the window’.

Sir Bernard has remained silent about the soiree, which the police have been investigat­ing since news of it emerged in June. Yesterday he was still refusing to answer the Mail’s questions and whether he had been issued with a fine over it.

Sir Bernard was one of Mr Johnson’s Partygate inquisitor­s on the privileges committee and has been accused of ‘staggering hypocrisy’ for condemning the ex-PM over lockdown gatherings in Downing Street while facing questions about his own behaviour.

The committee findings ultimately led to the end of Mr Johnson’s Commons career after it found he misled Parliament over lockdown breaches in Downing Street. He was later effectivel­y forced to resign as an MP.

Dame Eleanor is the senior deputy speaker and chairs the Commons when the Chancellor delivers the Budget. The Speaker’s office yesterday refused to say whether she would be suspended from her duties.

Mr greenberg’s investigat­ion is into alleged ‘actions causing significan­t damage to the reputation of the House as a whole, or of its Members generally’.

Dame Eleanor did not respond to requests for comment.

Ms Crosbie said she would cooperate with the standards investigat­ion but was told last month by police that she would not receive a fixed penalty notice for attending the gathering.

‘Damage to the House’s reputation’

 ?? ?? Under scrutiny: Dame Eleanor Laing
Under scrutiny: Dame Eleanor Laing

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