MP Pete Wishart has lodged a formal complaint against Boris Johnson with the Metropolitan Police over what he alleges is a new ‘cash for honours scandal’.
The Perth and North Perthshire politician wrote to the force’s commissioner Cressida Dick calling for an investigation into the prime minister, as well as into former prime ministers David Cameron and Theresa May.
It comes after it was revealed all 16 of the main Conservative treasurer – apart from the most recent – were offered peerages in the House of Lords after donating millions of pounds to the party.
It found wealthy benefactors were “guaranteed” a peerage if they take on the temporary role of party treasurer and increase their own personal donations to over £3 million.
Mr Wishart made the announcement during a debate on parliamentary standards in the House of Commons, which the prime minister did not attend.
Wishart writes to Met Police commissioner
Pete Wishart claims the prime minister has breached the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925, and it is therefore right a criminal investigation is launched.
Speaking at the debate, he said: “I have now asked the Metropolitan Police to investigate the activities of the Conservative Party and the awarding of places in the House of Lords.
“It now seems that nearly all the past treasurers of the Conservative Party of later years are in that place, wearing their ermine, taking a part in the legislative decisions of this country.
“The only characteristic they seem to have, the only defining feature that seems to get them a place in that house, is the fact they’re able to give several millions of pounds to this government.
“I have asked the Metropolitan Police to investigate these appointments under the provisions of section one, subsection two of the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925.”
North East Fife MP brings forward debate
The debate on standards was brought forward by North East Fife MP Wendy Chamberlain who said a number of her constituents had contacted her following the Owen Paterson scandal.
Boris Johnson thinks the rules don’t apply to him.
Time and again, this Government has refused to properly investigate allegations of sleaze, failed to declare relevant meetings, and tried to rig the system to cover their own backs.@WendyChambLD 👇 pic.twitter.com/5JhrMjw53z
— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) November 8, 2021
She says it is “hard to be proud to be an MP”, claiming the scandals of the past week in Westminster means all MPS are “tarnished with the government’s brush” and “tainted by allegations of sleaze“.
Ms Chamberlain, who is also the Lib Dem’s chief whip, said: “There are many questions that demand answers and many of those involve the prime minister’s personal role in this affair.
“This is almost the kind of behaviour we would expect to see in the Duma in Moscow, the National People’s Congress in Beijing, not in the House of Commons.
This is almost the kind of behaviour we would expect to see in the Duma in Moscow, the National People’s Congress in Beijing, not in the House of Commons.
– Wendy Chamberlain MP
“Previous prime ministers and previous governments have all had their failings, but it’s a long time since we have seen these issues and the absolute lack of resolve to do anything about it.”
Ms Chamberlain also criticised the prime minister for not attending the debate on standards in person.
She added: “This is a prime minister who flew to Afghanistan to escape a vote on Heathrow when he was foreign secretary and has driven to the north-east to escape questions today.”
This was followed by a shout of “Run, Boris, Run!” from the opposition benches.
Frontbenches ‘regret’ the ‘mistake’
At the beginning of the standards debate Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay said he and his colleagues on the government frontbench “regret” the “mistake” they made last week when they supported Boris Johnson’s calls to reform the standards commission.
He said: “I’d like, first and foremost, to express my regret and that of my ministerial colleagues over the mistake made last week.
I’d like to express my regret and that of my ministerial colleagues over the mistake made last week.
– Steve Barclay MP
“We recognise there are concerns across the house over the standards system and also the process by which possible breaches of the code of conduct are investigated.
“Yet whilst sincerely held concerns clearly warrant further attention, the manner in which the government approached last week’s debate conflated them with the response to an individual case.
“This house shares a collective interest in ensuring that the code of conduct reflects and fosters the highest standards of public life.
“The government fully recognises that the standards committee is critical to this, including the important role performed by its chairman.”