Sunday People


Could Boris be out by summer?

- BY MIKEY SMITH Whitehall Correspond­ent

BORIS Johnson could face a by-election by the summer after his tetchy Partygate grilling.

Tory colleagues believe the former PM is “toast” after his three-hour interrogat­ion at the hands of the Commons’ Privileges Committee on Wednesday.

And a former Government source said the “chance of a real comeback” for Mr Johnson is “pretty much nil”.

The committee is expected to rule within weeks on whether Mr Johnson “recklessly” or “intentiona­lly” lied to Parliament when he said lockdown rules had been followed in Downing Street.

If they find against him, they have the power to recommend his expulsion from Parliament – although it is unlikely they would take such drastic action. But, as protectors of the Commons’ reputation, they may call for his suspension for 10 days of Parliament­ary business.

If MPS backed that, it would automatica­lly trigger a recall process – giving voters in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituen­cy six weeks to petition for a by-election.

In evidence, the ex-pm and his legal team questioned the legitimacy of the inquiry, and even hinted Mr Johnson may not accept the probe had been fair if it found against him.

The committee can consider “aggravatin­g” factors such as

Mr Johnson’s attitude when deciding how long any suspension should be.

And with support among MPS down to a handful – and PM Rishi Sunak promising no party whip – it is almost certain the Commons will back the Committee’s final recommenda­tion.

Many of Mr Johnson’s supporters are set to stay away on the day in a bid to avoid the backlash they received from voters for opposing Owen Paterson’s suspension in November 2021.

One major Tory donor said: “With the parliament­ary party, Boris Johnson is toast – and he’s gradually losing support from the grassroots.”

But a source close to the disgraced former PM insisted: “He felt the session went well and enjoyed it.”

With MPS, Johnson is toast, and he is losing the grassroots

 ?? ?? DISDAIN EX-PM faces MPS. Inset, swearing on bible
DISDAIN EX-PM faces MPS. Inset, swearing on bible

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