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Sue Gray report: What happens next to Boris Johnson?

The Met Police has finished its investigation, and the Sue Gray report has now been published in full. Boris Johnson has long urged people to wait until all the investigations were completed before making any conclusions.

A number of MPs said they would not comment, or make any decisions about the Prime Minister’s future, until the report was completed. We asked Welsh MPs their feelings, but many were reluctant to comment.

Unless he resigns, the only way Boris Johnson can be ousted as leader of the Conservative party is if enough of his own MPs say he should face a no confidence motion. Backbench Conservative MPs meet as part of something called the 1922 committee. Currently the committee chair is Sir Graham Brady, MP for Altrincham and Sale West and he would have to receive letters from 15% of Tory MPs – currently 54 MPs – to trigger a leadership election. If that happened, Sir Graham would have to draw up a timetable for the election and set the rules. The number of letters he has is a closely guarded secret. MPs can also withdraw those letters at any time.

Read more : The full Sue Gray report has been released

We expect the Prime Minister to meet the 1922 Committee at 5pm on May 25. Before that, he is due to appear in the Commons for Prime Minister’s Questions and then make a statement to the Commons.

Candidates seek nominations from their fellow Tory MPs but if they don’t meet the threshold specified by the 1922 Committee chairman they won’t go any further. Or, if there is enough numbers for a challenge, a series of ballots is then held among Conservative members of the House of Commons until only two candidates are left standing.

These two candidates will then go forward to a vote among rank-and-file Tory party members. This would be on a “one member, one vote” basis. In December 2018 Theresa May survived a vote of no confidence but indicated to the 1922 Committee the following March that she would stand down as party leader, which she eventually did in June 2019.

Mr Johnson has already vowed to “fix” Downing Street’s culture. When he spoke to the Commons after the interim report was published, he told MPs: “It is not enough to say sorry. This is a moment when we must look at ourselves in the mirror, and we must learn”. Ms Gray had said: “There is significant learning to be drawn”. The Prime Minister said she was right to call out the “fragmented and complicated” leadership structures of Downing Street, which she said “have not evolved sufficiently to meet the demands”. There will now be pressure for those changes to be made, and made public.

There is also a separate Commons committee inquiry looking into whether the Prime Minister deliberately misled Parliament. On April 21, 2022, the House of Commons passed a motion tabled by the leader of the Labour Party, calling for Mr Johnson to be investigated for having potentially misled parliament.

The Commons’ Privileges Committee is a cross-party committee tasked with the investigation of potential contempt of parliament and breaches of privilege. It will be up to the committee to decide how much time it wishes to take for its inquiry. The committee has the power to call for evidence – including documents or photographs taken at the various Downing Street events under investigation. It could also seek to take evidence from witnesses including the prime minister.

Once the committee has concluded its investigation, it will decide whether it believes that the prime minister deliberately misled parliament, and therefore committed a contempt. If applicable, it will also recommend what kind of sanction the prime minister should face. The committee will report its findings and recommendations to the House of Commons. All MPs will then vote to ratify or disagree with their conclusions and any recommended sanctions.

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