Even as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on a two-day bilateral visit to India, the House of Commons committee is set to probe him over allegations of whether he misled the parliament about attending illegal parties at Downing Street during the COVID-19 lockdown.
On Thursday, 21 April, after over 5 hours of debate, MPs voted for the Parliament's Committee of Privileges to probe the matter.
The vote, which was tabled by the Opposition Labour Party was approved without a formal vote. The government had tried to delay the vote, but U-turned following opposition from its own MPs, BBC reported.
Under the UK government guidelines, ministers who knowingly mislead the House of Commons are expected to resign.
What Happened During the Debate?
During a debate before the vote, Labour leader Keir Starmer said the Prime Minister had "stood at that despatch box and point blank denied rule-breaking took place, when it did".
Stating that Britain deserved a leader better than Johnson, he further accused Conservative MPs of failing to stand up for values of "honesty and integrity".
Reiterating her party's call for the PM's resignation, Angela Rayner said, "Johnson is leading the Conservative Party into the sewer."
Ian Blackford, who is a leader from Scottish National Party, said the UK PM had lied to avoid getting caught and once he got caught he lied again.
Speaking at the debate, UK Cabinet Office Minister Michael Ellis defended Johnson saying, he did not mislead the Parliament, but only commented about the partygate revelations "in good faith".
He further said that, "the UK PM has always been clear that he is happy to face whatever inquiries Parliament sees fit," news agency PTI reported. "He has responded to the event for which he has received a fixed penalty notice."
Fixed penalty notice denotes a fine of 50 pounds that was imposed on Johnson by Scotland Yard last week, after it was found that he had breached the lockdown rules during his birthday party in June 2020.
The Metropolitan police had also fined his wife Carrie Johnson who had taken a cake into the Cabinet Room at Downing Street and UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak who was allegedly present there for breaking COVID laws.
Following this, all three apologised and also paid their fines.
Johnson had previously told MPs that laws were not broken in Downing Street, leading to accusations from opposition parties that the Prime Minister had misled them.
'Have No Concerns About the Committee Investigation': Johnson
Speaking during his visit to Ahmedabad on Thursday, Johnson said he has "no concerns" about the committee investigation.
"If the opposition wants to focus on this and talk about it a lot more, that's fine." But he said he "wanted to focus on what matters for the future of the country," including boosting trade ties with India, tackling the cost of living, energy, transport and childcare, BBC reported.
Johnson's Visit To India
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson landed in Gujarat's Ahmedabad on the morning of Thursday, 21 April, commencing his two-day visit to India.
He was received by Bhupendrabhai Patel, the chief minister of Gujarat, at Ahmedabad Airport.
"It's fantastic to be in India, the world's largest democracy," he tweeted after reaching Gujarat.
Johnson along with the Gujarat CM also visited a JCB factory at Halol GIDC, Panchmahal and was also seen climbing aboard a bulldozer. He toured the facility with Tory donor Lord Bamford, who owns the company.
Meanwhile, the prime minister's visit to a JCB factory at Halol GIDC, Panchmahal, in Gujarat, and his climbing aboard an excavator on Thursday, led to an outrage amid the 'bulldozer politics' going around in the country, with the machinery being used for the mass demolition of homes.
(With inputs from BBC, PTI.)