Boris Johnson ally feels 'gagged' by committee behind partygate report

Allies of Boris Johnson are warning MPs they could be penalised if they vote in favour of a report into the former prime minister, as political correspondent Harry Horton reports

A Boris Johnson ally has furiously criticised the committee that published a damning report into the former prime minister, saying he "felt gagged" and unable to speak out against it.

Speaking to ITV News, Jake Berry accused the House of Commons privileges committee of trying to stop MPs from commenting on the report, which ruled that Mr Johnson lied to MPs about parties held in Downing Street during the pandemic.

"For the first time ever in my entire time representing Rosendale and Darwin, I felt gagged by this committee," he said.

"They have said in the report, anyone who criticises this report can expect sanction. So I put the question to your viewers, if this report is so good, if it's so fair, if it's so clear that the prime minister has misled Parliament, why are they trying to stop people commenting on this in public and questioning their findings?"

'I felt gagged by this committee', MP Jake Berry tells ITV News

Mr Berry's comments come as the warring Conservative Party becomes increasingly divided in the wake of the scathing report, with allies of the former prime minister warning Tories they could be penalised at the next election if they back the report.

There will be a vote on the privileges committee's report in the House of Commons on Monday, which recommended that Mr Johnson's actions warranted a 90-day suspension from Parliament had he not already quit as an MP.

It has also been recommended that Mr Johnson is banned from holding a pass that gives him continued access to Parliament.

While vast numbers are expected to back the report on Monday, MPs aren't obliged to turn up and some could choose to avoid the Commons in a bid not to choose a side.

On Friday morning, the prime minister's spokesperson refused to say whether or not Rishi Sunak will take part in the vote, confirming he still hasn't had time to read the report.

Mr Berry said any "fair-minded" MP will vote against the findings, assuring that Mr Johnson had "in no way" attempted to influence his vote.

"Unlike many of my colleagues, one of the things I've done is taken the time to read this document before making my mind up," he added.

"I've been quite quiet, I've kept my opinion to myself, and I think any fair-minded individual who reads this can do nothing other than vote against it."

Meanwhile, fellow Mr Johnson ally Nadine Dorries also said any Tory MPs who back the report on Monday are not "true Conservatives" and should be "held to account".

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