Dominic Raab: Prime ministers should resign if they lie to Parliament and don’t correct it

·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·4-min read

Watch: Dominic Raab admits ministers who lie to Parliament should resign

The deputy prime minster has suggested Boris Johnson should resign if he is found to have lied to Parliament and fails to correct the record.

Dominic Raab faced a series of grilling interviews on the morning media round on Tuesday over the latest bombshell claims to engulf the prime minister.

On Monday, Johnson's former senior aide, Dominic Cummings, said the PM was lying when he told MPs last week he had not known beforehand about the “bring your own bottle” event in the No 10 garden on May 20 2020.

Pressed on the matter on BBC Radio 4's Today programme Raab said: “If it’s lying, deliberate in the way you describe, if it’s not corrected immediately, it would normally, under the Ministerial Code and the governance around Parliament, be a resigning matter.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Picture date: Wednesday January 12, 2022.
Boris Johnson admitted on Wednesday attending a party in Downing Street in May 2020 when the rest of the country was banned from meeting in groups larger than 2 (PA)

When presenter Justin Webb queried his use of the word "normally", Raab added: “I don’t have the words in front of me to quote it verbatim and forgive me as a lawyer but I like to be accurate about this.

“What I’m absolutely saying is that the standards are there for a reason, people in public office are meant to hold the highest standards.”

The ministerial code says: "It is of paramount importance that ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister."

Read more: Boris Johnson 'lied to parliament' about Downing Street party, Dominic Cummings says

Dominic Raab has admitted a PM who lies to Parliament and doesn't correct it should resign(BBC)
Dominic Raab has admitted a PM who lies to Parliament and doesn't correct it should resign(BBC)

Johnson has been trying to move on after admitting attending a "bring your own booze" party at Downing Street when the nation was under strict lockdown rules.

But Cummings, his former right hand man who has made no secret of his dislike of Johnson in recent months, sparked yet another row after claiming the PM was warned in advance that staff were holding a drinks party in breach of COVID laws.

The PM’s former chief adviser said he would “swear under oath” Johnson was lying when he told MPs he had not known in advance about the event on May 20 2020.

“I said to the PM something like: ‘Martin’s invited the building to a drinks party, this is what I’m talking about, you’ve got to grip this madhouse’. The PM waved it aside,” Mr Cummings wrote in his blog.

He added: “The events of May 20 alone, never mind the string of other events, mean the PM lied to Parliament about parties.

A No 10 spokesman said: “It is untrue that the Prime Minister was warned about the event in advance. As he said earlier this week he believed implicitly that this was a work event.

Dominic Cummings giving speaking at the Commons Science and Technology Committee which is taking evidence on a new UK research funding agency. Picture date: Wednesday March 17, 2021.
The PM’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings has claimed Boris Johnson lied about whether he knew the Downing Street party was a work event and had been warned against ketting it go ahead (PA)

“He has apologised to the House and is committed to making a further statement once the investigation concludes.”

Johnson is resisting calls to resign as prime minister after repeated allegations of parties within Downing Street, although there is growing fury within the Tory party.

The claims are being investigated by senior civil servant Sue Gray, whose report could be published next week.

It has also been reported regular “wine time Friday” gatherings were held in Downing Street, and that a special fridge was wheeled in to help staff enjoy them.

Among the most damaging claims have been reports of a party held in Downing Street on the night before the funeral for the Duke of Edinburgh, which became so raucous that a swing belonging to the PM's toddler son was broken, and staff used a suitcase to smuggle alcohol into the building.

Number 10 was forced to apologise to Buckingham Palace after it was reported.

Rumours are growing of a vote of no confidence being triggered, although the threshold of 54 Tory MPs writing to the 1922 Committee has yet to be reached.

Watch: Dominic Raab says lying to parliament would "normally" be a resigning matter for a prime minister