Bernard Jenkin rejects call for inquiry into Boris Johnson’s conduct

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson - Credit: PA

A committee of senior MPs has rejected a Labour call to launch an investigation into Boris Johnson’s conduct over “cronyism”.

Shadow frontbencher Rachel Reeves issued the call after it emerged the prime minister exchanged text messages with billionaire Sir James Dyson over the tax status of employees involved in creating new ventilators as the coronavirus pandemic struck.

But the Liaison Committee’s chairman Bernard Jenkin rejected her appeal, stating that existing inquiries were already examining the issues.

The panel, made up of the chairmen and women of the Commons select committees, will call the prime minister for an evidence session before the House breaks for the summer on July 22 and Sir Bernard said the MPs would make sure Johnson answers “any relevant questions in good time”.

Shadow cabinet office minister Reeves had written to Jenkin calling for him to “urgently investigate the prime minister’s conduct”, raising concerns about a “lack of transparency around commercial lobbying and cronyism”.

But Tory MP Jenkin said: “All of the issues raised in the letter sent fall under an existing select committee inquiry.

“Select Committees have been working hard and in close cooperation to ensure that their respective inquiries avoid duplication and cover all the necessary questions.

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“The chairs of select committees have also made it clear that they do not welcome the Liaison Committee interfering or seeking to pre-empt their inquiries and it is part of my role to listen to them.

“My committee is the only one to hold evidence sessions with the prime minister and the prime minister has already committed to appearing before the Liaison Committee before the summer recess.

“The Liaison Committee will want to raise any issues which are not covered by the existing committee inquiries. We will also want to make sure that the prime minister answers any relevant questions in good time.”

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, the Public Accounts Committee and the Treasury Committee have all launched investigations into links between the government and the business world.

The various investigations were prompted by revelations about former prime minister David Cameron’s lobbying on behalf of Greensill Capital but are also examining wider issues.

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