A cabinet split has erupted over the Partygate report to Boris Johnson after a minister said a 90-day suspension was “obviously inconvenient”.
Mel Stride, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said he thought the report was right to conclude that Mr Johnson misled the House of Commons, but should not have been punished so severely.
On Monday night, MPs voted to approve a Privileges Committee report declaring that Johnson had lied to MPs and should be suspended for 90 days.
“I agreed with the conclusions drawn in terms of misconduct by Boris Johnson, but I was clearly uncomfortable with the harshness of the sanction,” said Stride.
“I think a 90-day sanction – to put that in context, it’s nine times the 10-day threshold it would take to potentially file a recall request for a sitting MP – was just too far to vote for. the motion.
“I certainly would not have voted against, but in the end I went for abstention.”
Six cabinet ministers, including Penny Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons, voted in favor of the report, while seven backbenchers voted against. All other MPs who voted supported the conclusions.
Stride added: “I respect colleagues in cabinet who have come to a different decision than I did, but I have explained why I came to the conclusion.”
In practice, the 90-day sentence will not apply because Mr. Johnson has already resigned.