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Privileges Committee shames the Boris backers


Hell hath no fury like a select committee scorned. Fresh from chastising Boris Johnson, the Privileges Committee has now turned its guns on the Tory MPs who vociferously backed him during their investigation. The seven-strong panel has identified eight Boris backers who interfered with their 14-month long probe into whether or not Johnson lied to the House. They are: Nadine Dorries, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Brendan Clarke-Smith, Andrea Jenkyns, Mark Jenkinson, Priti Patel, Michael Fabricant and Lord Goldsmith.

All of the aforementioned eight were criticised for posting tweets, or giving comments to the media, that represented, in the committee’s words, ‘some of the most disturbing examples of the co-ordinated campaign to interfere with’ its inquiry. ‘We have not catalogued every tweet or TV appearance’ says the report ‘but have set out in an annex to this report some of the most disturbing examples of the co-ordinated campaign.’ Examples include Rees-Mogg and Dorries attacking the Privileges Committee on their TV shows, Jenkyns calling it a ‘kangaroo court’ and Clarke-Smith labelling it a ‘parliamentary witch-hunt which would put a banana republic to shame.’

The report by the committee claims that ‘this unprecedented and co-ordinated pressure did not affect the conduct or outcome of our inquiry. However, it had significant personal impact on individual members and raised significant security concerns.’ It also criticises Lords Cruddas and Greenhalgh – both of whom were ennobled by Johnson and who now run the Conservative Democratic Organisation. Their online magazine Conservative Post is accused of instigating an email campaign urging those members to stand aside from the committee and alleging that the inquiry was ‘deeply flawed, biased and unfair.’ The Committee now wants the Commons to pass a motion to back them up. Should make for an interesting debate on the floor of the House…

Below are the ‘dirty dozen’ of the examples of thought crime, as identified by the panel…

15 June 2023, Nadine Dorries MP, Twitter: ‘We also need to keep a close eye on the careers of the Conservative MPs who sat on that committee.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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