Boris Johnson is 'innocent until proven guilty' says Rees-Mogg
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Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg said in his experience, “very few people do lie in public life” and he added that “lying in public life is not a sensible thing to do, because it gets found out”. Asked if Boris Johnson would need to resign if he was interviewed under caution by police, he told Channel 4 News: “No, of course, that wouldn’t be a resigning matter, because people are innocent in this country until proved guilty.
“And it is worth bearing in mind that the police themselves have said that the fact that they are investigating something doesn’t mean that any crime has necessarily been committed, that they are investigating because that is what the police do.”
But Mr Johnson could still face MPs over a highly anticipated report into parties in No 10 before the week is out, a Cabinet minister has suggested, as No 10 braced for the results of the investigation which could determine the Prime Minister’s future.
A report by senior official Sue Gray was expected to be handed to Downing Street on Wednesday but reports suggested the final document was still being pored over overnight.
Tory MPs have held off until the publication of the report to pass judgment on their leader over multiple alleged parties across No 10 and Whitehall during coronavirus restrictions.
It is not clear what the report has discovered but an indication of how damaging it could be for the Government came when Scotland Yard chief Dame Cressida Dick announced a police inquiry was being carried out, based in part on evidence obtained by the Gray investigation.
There was speculation that after the report was not delivered on Wednesday, MPs and the public may have to wait until after the weekend for its publication, as Mr Johnson had promised to address the Commons shortly after it was released.
There were suggestions that due to Thursday being Holocaust Memorial Day and many MPs being back in their constituencies from Thursday afternoon, No 10 may hold off on publishing the report once it was received.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told ITV’s Peston: “I read it might be the end of the week, but as you say it could be early next week. Let’s wait and see.”
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Mr Kwarteng also told the programme he was “100 percent behind the Prime Minister”, who he repeatedly noted was bound by the ministerial code.
During Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer suggested Mr Johnson had misled Parliament about Downing Street parties, something which would normally require a minister to resign.
Asked if he would quit, the Prime Minister said: “No.”
Mr Johnson replied: “Of course he wants me out of the way – he does, and of course I don’t deny, for all sorts of reasons, many people may want me out of the way.”
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But if the outcome of the Gray report is significantly damaging, Mr Johnson could face a revolt from his own MPs, who may choose to call a vote of no confidence.
The Daily Mail reported that Tories were urging the PM to scrap a planned hike in national insurance to win back their support.
The Commons Treasury Committee has warned in a report released on Thursday that the rise in employer national insurance contributions would contribute to a rise in inflation.
Conservative MP for Bolton North East Mark Logan said that while Mr Johnson had his support, there needed to be a reset.
He told Sky News: “There has to be a huge change. There has to be a change of heart with the Prime Minister, there has to be a change of approach and a whole change to the infrastructure around the Prime Minister.”
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