The Liberal Democrats are seeking to overturn Boris Johnson’s entire resignation honours list, after the former prime minister was censured by parliament on Monday night.
Christine Jardine, Lib Dem spokesperson for the Cabinet Office, has written to the government’s Forfeiture Committee seeking to have Johnson’s list withdrawn after MPs voted 354 to seven in favour of a report that found he committed five contempts of parliament, including misleading the Commons and being “complicit in a campaign of abuse and intimidation”.
In a letter sent to the committee, seen by Tortoise, Jardine said Johnson had “launched deplorable attacks on the Committee and our Parliamentary democracy”. She also raised doubts about the suitability of individuals on the list, including those “implicated in the partygate saga”.
Jardine wrote: “I am therefore urging you to open an investigation into the potential withdrawal of all of Boris Johnson’s honours which fall under the scope of your Committee. Clearly, the circumstances around this list – and the events which have occurred since its release – are unprecedented and have brought the honours system into disrepute. I believe that there are grounds for examining whether Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list can be revoked in its entirety.”
But Jardine is not alone in having raised questions about the appropriateness of progressing with the honours list.
Another Lib Dem MP noted that Johnson could fall foul of the ruling on individuals being disciplined by professional bodies, telling Tortoise: “Isn’t that effectively what we did yesterday?”
The Forfeiture Committee’s website notes: “An honour can be withdrawn (or ‘forfeited’) for a variety of reasons, including criminal conviction and bringing the honours system into disrepute.”
A Conservative backbencher added: “If the committee believes the honours system is being brought into disrepute they can pull [the list]. The focus is always on individual honours as no one would imagine the person giving would be [the one] doing the disrepute.”
Sources also noted the same tactic could be deployed for Liz Truss when her anticipated list, which is expected to total roughly ten names including four peerages, is published.
More of Cat Neilan’s reporting on the “Dishonours list”
Photograph Leon Neal/Getty Images