Boris Johnson will face calls for a public inquiry into the sleazy Tory allegations as MPs consider how to clean up Westminster after the row with Owen Paterson.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Prime Minister should apologize to the nation and “clean up the dirty Augean stable he created”.
The Commons will spend three hours hearing an emergency debate on the situation, despite ministers seeking to call the dispute a “storm in a cup of tea.”
The Liberal Democrats, who secured the debate, called for a statutory public inquiry into the allegations of sleaze and corruption.
The inquest, which would have the power to call witnesses and obtain evidence under oath, would examine not only the Paterson litigation but also the award of coronavirus contracts, if Mr Johnson’s vacation in villas provided by friends were correctly declared and how the renovation of his Downing Street apartment was funded.
A debate was granted last week by President Lindsay Hoyle following attempts by the Conservatives to block an immediate 30-day suspension for Mr. Paterson for a “flagrant” violation of lobbying rules.
Instead, Conservative MPs were ordered to support the creation of a Conservative-led committee to re-examine Mr. Paterson’s case and the entire standards system.
But after a backlash, the government did an about-face and Mr. Paterson then resigned as an MP, leaving what he called the “cruel world of politics.”
Reports released over the weekend suggested the president might present his own proposals for reforming the normalization process with the aim of withdrawing some of the increasingly bitter policies.
Ahead of the emergency debate, Sir Keir said the Prime Minister had to publicly confirm that the former Cabinet Minister, Mr Paterson, would not be nominated for a peerage.
Sources in Downing Street said there was no intention for Mr Paterson to win a seat in the Upper House.
Sir Keir will lead the debate for Labor, but Mr Johnson is expected to give Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg the job of representing the government.
“Boris Johnson must attend this debate, answer for his mistakes, apologize to the country and take action to repair the damage he has caused,” Sir Keir said.
“The country has yet to hear a word of contrition over its attempts to create one rule for himself and his friends and one for everyone. He must now come to the House and apologize.
The Liberal Democrats have called for a change in the rules of the House of Commons to prevent any MP under investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner from voting or proposing amendments to motions related to disciplinary matters.
Lib Dem chief whip Wendy Chamberlain said it was “the equivalent of defendants in a court case also taking part in the jury.”
She added: “Time and time again government ministers have refused to properly investigate the sleazy allegations, have not declared meetings and donations relevant and have tried to rig the system to cover their own back.
“We need an independent public inquiry, with the powers and resources to shed light on this scandal of sordid Conservatives. “
Tory MPs, who have been contacted by voters furious about the situation, remain angry with the handling of the Paterson case and relations have not been helped by the assertion by Environment Secretary George Eustice that it was a “Westminster storm in a teacup”.
High Peak MP Robert Largan, one of the new generation of Conservative MPs elected in 2019, criticized Mr. Eustice’s attempt to downplay the importance of the dispute, telling Times Radio: “I don’t don’t think it’s very helpful to say, ‘oh, it’s just a storm in a teacup’.
“In my opinion, we were wrong and they need to fix it. “
Another Tory MP from 2019 told the PA News Agency that Mr Eustice’s comments were “complete nonsense.”
The MP said: “They have to take control and understand that this is not the way the world works anymore. It might have been 20 years ago or something, but people – and rightly so – expect the highest standards. “