Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has again had to intervene in Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) after Boris Johnson failed to answer a question.
In the first PMQs since Easter, Johnson and opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer went head-to-head over the recent lobbying scandal involving former prime minister David Cameron.
Sir Keir called on Johnson to back an opposition motion for a full investigation into the government lobbying regulations after it emerged Cameron lobbied ministers on their private phones and met for informal ‘drinks’.
The former prime minister made the headlines this week after failing to accept breaking lobbying rules after texting chancellor Rishi Sunak and other ministers on business matters concerning his employer Greensill Capital.
Downing Street had since pushed for an independent review headed by attorney Nigel Broadman, who worked on the current lobbying legislation.
But when asked to back Labour’s motion, Johnson went on about the Police and Crime Bill, prompting the Commons speaker to intervene.
Sir Lindsay yelled: “Order! Prime minister, I think we ought to at least answer the question,” before moving on proceedings.
Sir Keir accused the prime minister of “blocking a proper inquiry”, adding: “The Greensill scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. Dodgy contracts, privileged access, jobs for their mates, this is the return of Tory sleaze. It’s now so ingrained in this Conservative government, we don’t need another Conservative Party appointee marking their own homework.
“The more I listen to the prime minister, the more I think Ted Hastings and AC-12 is needed to get to the bottom of this one.
“We know the prime minister will not act against sleaze, but this House can.”
He pressed MPs to back Labour’s motion in a bid to start to “clean up the sleaze and cronyism that’s at the heart of this Conservative government”.
Johnson highlighted the independent review, insisting there are “tougher” laws on lobbying before adding: “We’re getting on with rooting out bent coppers. We’re also appointing and hiring thousands more police officers and fighting crime on the streets of our cities while they oppose the police and crime Bill.”