Worksop MP could face Parliamentary ban after being named in report for trying to obstruct 'partygate' probe

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Worksop MP Brendan Clarke-Smith could face a suspension from Parliament after being named in a report for using "improper pressure" on the Commons investigation into whether Boris Johnson lied to MPs over partygate.

He is named as one of seven MPs and three peers in the privileges committee's special report on "sustained interference" into the probe.

The group have been accused of using "unprecedented and co-ordinated pressure", which "had significant personal impact on individual members and raised significant security concerns".

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Other senior Tories named include former cabinet minister Priti Patel and Lord Zac Goldsmith, who is a serving minister.

Brendan Clarke-Smith, Bassetlaw MP.Brendan Clarke-Smith, Bassetlaw MP.
Brendan Clarke-Smith, Bassetlaw MP.

MPs Mark Jenkinson, Michael Fabricant, Brendan Clarke-Smith and Andrea Jenkyns are all also cited in the report for criticising the investigation with tweets and media interviews attacking the committee.

The report said they sought to influence the outcome of the inquiry, impede its work by inducing members to resign and "discredit the committee as a whole".

It singled out Mr Rees-Mogg and Ms Dorries in particular for using their shows on GB News and TalkTV respectively to mount "the most vociferous attacks".

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It also condemned the "selective pressure brought to bear" on Tory members of the committee - pointing to an email campaign instigated by the Conservative Post website which urged them to step down.

Tweeting following the publication of the report, Mr Clarke-Smith wrote: “Members of Parliament fulfil an important role in society and it is absolutely vital that they are able to scrutinise and comment on any matters relating to their work.

"Having fully respected the processes before me and at no point referring to the committee whilst preparing their previous work, I am shocked and disappointed to be named in this new report.

"This raises serious questions about free speech in a democratic society and my colleagues and I will continue to defend these principles going forward.”

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The report said over 600 emails were sent to Conservative members of the committee within days, including ones "appearing to come from Lord Cruddas and Lord Greenhalgh" - both of whom were given peerages by Mr Johnson.

The group could be suspended from parliament if MPs approve sanctions.

The committee said the House of Commons should consider whether their actions could be considered a contempt of Parliament and what further steps to take.

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The report is provisionally scheduled to be considered by MPs on July 10.

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Rishi Sunak's spokesman declined to say if he would vote in the Commons to back the report and also insisted he had confidence in Lord Goldsmith, amid growing pressure to sack him.

Speaking during a visit to Selby, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the prime minister is "too weak to deal with his MPs" and called the partygate report "further evidence of a divided party that is incapable of governing".

Mr Johnson's allies remained defiant following the report's publication, with one telling Sky News: "I shall wear it as a badge of honour."

And in a tweet Michael Fabricant hit back: "Respect for the committee needs to be earned."

Mr Rees-Mogg ignored questions about the report, which listed some of his statements as one of the "most disturbing examples" in a "campaign of interference in the work" of the committee.