James Cleverly clashed with Sarah-Jane Mee
The foreign secretary said he could not “remember exactly” where he had been at the time, but insisted he was probably travelling.
At one point during the grilling, Cleverly snapped: “I was literally in the middle of answering when you cut me off.”
And just before the interview ended, he made his frustration clear by glancing off to the side of the camera.
Cleverly was among more than 200 Tory MPs - including Rishi Sunak - who failed to take part in the Commons vote on the privileges committee’s report, which found Johnson had repeatedly misled parliament over partygate.
Asked why he was not there on Monday night, Cleverly said: “I can’t remember exactly what was in my diary at that point in time, but because I travel a lot and because I have a lot of commitments both in the international community and here in the UK, it is often the case that I miss votes.”
The Johnson ally insisted the vote “was a moot point” because the former PM has now quit parliament.
He said: “We respect the work of the privileges committee.”
But Mee hit back: “Then why didn’t you turn up to vote? Is your friendship with Boris Johnson more important than standing up for the democratic process?”
A clearly-annoyed Cleverly replied: “I was literally in the middle of answering when you cut me off.
“This was House business, not government business, it’s not whipped and it’s down to individuals.”
Sarah-Jane Mee - Why didn't you vote on the privileges committee report?
James Cleverly - "I can't remember what was in my diary at that point in time... that vote was a moot point..."#KayBurleypic.twitter.com/hz2HXzr43L
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) June 22, 2023
Sunak has also come under fire for missing the vote, despite the fact that eight members of the cabinet all managed to turn up and back the privileges committee’s findings.
Although Johnson’s resignation as an MP meant the Commons could not impose the 90-day suspension recommended by the committee, he has now been stripped of his parliamentary pass.