Points of Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:21 pm on 20th June 2022.

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Photo of Wendy Chamberlain Wendy Chamberlain Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Wales), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Work and Pensions) 5:21 pm, 20th June 2022

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Members may be aware that early editions of Saturday’s Times included a story regarding the conduct of the Prime Minister when he was Foreign Secretary. The piece alleged that the Prime Minister attempted to appoint the then Carrie Symonds, now Carrie Johnson, as his chief of staff—a taxpayer-funded role paying a significant salary—at a time when their relationship was not public.

I have particular concerns regarding the disappearance of the story from The Times. A Downing Street spokesperson has confirmed that they did contact The Times and asked it to retract the story, and it has been alleged that the Prime Minister attempted to take out an injunction. Following the resignation last week of the Prime Minister’s independent adviser on ministerial standards, there is now no mechanism by which any investigation under the ministerial code can be undertaken into the Prime Minister’s conduct, other than at the behest of the Prime Minister himself. While the ministerial code remains a matter for Government, Members will remain concerned by the standards and conduct of those in Downing Street. Can you advise, Madam Deputy Speaker, on ways in which Members of Parliament such as I might be able to make assessments of the Prime Minister’s conduct in relation to standards following the adviser’s resignation?