Mordaunt: Privileges Committee critics may have been ‘too full of bounce’

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Commons leader Penny Mordaunt has suggested that critics of the Privileges Committee “might have been too full of bounce”.

Arch loyalist Jacob Rees-Mogg, himself a former Commons leader who was in the room supporting Boris Johnson during Wednesday’s evidence session, said his friend was “doing very well against the marsupials”.

Cabinet member Ms Mordaunt told MPs during Commons Business questions: “I would gently point out to those colleagues who have mentioned, for example, marsupials that they might have been too full of bounce when they made those remarks.

“The committee needs to get on with its work.”

Mr Johnson hit out at the “manifestly unfair” process in the hearing spanning more than three hours but declined to repeat the charge of some allies that the inquiry is a “kangaroo court”.

He accepts he misled MPs but denies doing so “recklessly”, insisting he denied lockdown breaches “in good faith” on the advice of officials, who turned out to be wrong.

Speaking in the Commons chamber, Deidre Brock, SNP MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, claimed the criticisms of the committee “do carry that nasty whiff of Trumpian populism”.

Ms Brock said: “Of course, the former prime minister’s evidence session before the Privileges Committee – now I won’t go into the details of the session itself, or the committee’s activities, that wouldn’t be appropriate.

“But I do want to raise the attacks openly challenging its integrity. Mr Speaker himself reminded us of the importance of allowing the committee to complete its work without interference.

“Now, frankly, such attacks from some quarters, do carry that nasty whiff of Trumpian populism again.”

Responding, Ms Mordaunt pointed to the importance of “good sound argument and also good manners”, adding: “The committee needs to get on with its work.”

She said: “I note the particular remarks (she) refers to that some members have made about the committee and, indeed, some members who’ve said that who’ve built their reputations as being a servant of this House, and would never let grubby politics get in the way of true, good sound argument and also good manners.”