MPs have called for an investigation into whether Boris Johnson broke the ministerial code in remarks he made about the procurement of Covid contracts.
Labour’s Debbie Abrahams, Greens MP Caroline Lucas and Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesperson Layla Moran have written to the cabinet secretary Simon Case demanding an investigation into the prime minister’s comments.
Johnson falsely stated to MPs that the government had published all Covid contracts it had procured to date.
“All the details are on the record,” he said during a debate on Covid contracts in the Commons, adding: “The contracts are there on the record for everybody to see.”
This was untrue. The prime minister has yet to correct the record.
A letter sent to the Good Law project by government lawyers on February 25 – after Johnson claimed the contracts had been published – confirmed around 100 contracts had not been released at the time.
In a letter to the cabinet secretary, the MPs said it was clear “that the prime minister had falsely reassured MPs about the number of contracts that had been published”.
The MPs said Johnson had breached a clause in the ministerial code that requires ministers to “give accurate and truthful information to parliament, correcting any inadvertent errors”.
The Department of Health has claimed Johnson was referring not to contracts, but to “Contract award notices (CANs)” – which they say had all been published at the time.
Johnson was not asked about CANs, nor did he refer to CANs in his answer.