Marion Fellows (Motherwell and Wishaw) claimed Boris Johnson “breached the ministerial code by using terminological inexactitudes”, prompting Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans to intervene during a Commons Opposition Day debate on standards in public life.
Ms Fellows said: “The Prime Minister knew he had attended parties in Number 10, but he used weasel words to try to deny it. He breached the ministerial code by using terminological inexactitudes and for my constituents’ benefit that’s sometimes known by you as lying.”
Thank you for your guidance, Mr Deputy Speaker, but I think my constituents struggle a bit with terminological inexactitude
Mr Evans interrupted saying: “Not having the word lying, it has been stressed by the Speaker at the beginning of this debate, so please will you withdraw the word lying.”
Ms Fellows replied: “I will withdraw… the word lying and thank you for your guidance, Mr Deputy Speaker, but I think my constituents struggle a bit with terminological inexactitude.”
Her claims of “nae honesty either” – adding that the PM has a “well-hidden moral compass” – led to a second intervention by Mr Evans.
He said: “Were you accusing the Prime Minister of being dishonest? Because, if so, can you withdraw that too please.”
Ms Fellows replied: “Oh sorry, yes of course.”
East Dunbartonshire MP Amy Callaghan said: “The truth is we deserve better from our elected leaders and when they don’t live up to expectations, checks and balances should come into effect.
“They should prevent this very situation. They should maintain faith in our democracy, they should prevent a liar from ever residing in 10 Downing Street, but the system is broken, the scale is askew and only a strengthened ministerial code could set the House to rights.
“Where does this end? A lawbreaker has now been allowed to remain as Prime Minister because his own MPs say so. Partying, lying, amending the ministerial code, voter suppression, watering down human rights.”
Mr Evans interrupted Ms Callaghan and asked her to withdraw the word “lying”.
“I withdraw the word lying,” she replied.