Speaker says it will be ‘dishonourable’ if PM keeps refusing to admit he misled MPs
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, has piled pressure on Boris Johnson to correct an untruthful claim made yesterday at PMQs.
Johnson left the chamber immediately after his weekly grilling by MPs, so escaped having to hear a complaint made about him for saying Labour voted against the NHS funding bill.
At the time shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said Johnson should be made to â€œreturn to the house to correct the recordâ€ – but Hoyle said by making his intervention, Ashworth had achieved his aim of clarification.
Today, no doubt after quite a lot of anger from opposition MPs, Hoyle issued a new statement – saying that the onus is on MPs to â€œcorrect the record if they make an inaccurate statement to the Houseâ€.
He cited the ministerial code, which says MPs should â€œcorrect any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunityâ€.
And he said ministers â€œmust take responsibility for correcting the record if a mistake has been madeâ€. In a hint that a tougher rebuke might follow if the PM did not admit his mistake, Hoyle added:
It is not dishonourable to make a mistake, but to seek to avoid admitting one is a different matter.
No 10 has so far avoided saying why Johnson made the untruthful remark during a lengthy exchange on NHS workersâ€™ pay with Sir Keir Starmer. It has also refused to apologise, or even directly admit that what Johnson said was wrong.
Johnsonâ€™s press secretary, Allegra Stratton, claimed yesterday that given Hoyleâ€™s response to the complaint made yesterday, the Speaker â€œregarded it as having been dealt withâ€. But this morningâ€™s intervention from Hoyle shows that he doesnâ€™t.
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