Labour has called for the Liaison Committee of MPs to hold an urgent investigation into Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s conduct in the ongoing row over cronyism.
The call for the investigation was made by Labour Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rachel Reeves, after it came to light that the Prime Minister had exchanged text messages with Sir James Dyson over the tax status of his employees.
The BBC reported a series of text messages between the Prime Minister and Sir James, which were exchanged in March last year after Sir James was unable to get the assurances he was looking for from the Treasury.
The businessman - whose company is based overseas in Singapore - wrote to the Treasury and requested that his staff would not have to pay additional tax if they came to the UK to work on the Covid ventilator project.
However, when he failed to receive a reply, the BBC said Sir James then contacted the Prime Minister directly, and said in a text that the company was ready but that “sadly” it seemed no-one wanted them to go ahead.
Mr Johnson then replied: “I will fix it tomo! We need you. It looks fantastic.”
‘We need the Prime Minister to appear before the Liaison Committee immediately’
Ms Reeves has now called for an investigation to be launched by Sir Bernard Jenkin, who is the chair of the Commons Liaison Committee, which comprises of select committee chairs.
She said Mr Johnson must give evidence before the cross-party group of MPs, and also called for all correspondence from the Prime Minister’s phone regarding Government business to be released.
Ms Reeves also called for No 10 to release details of communications between ministers, officials and lobbyists.
The shadow chancellor said in a statement: “Revelations today seem to confirm a growing feeling that if one has access to a telephone number of someone like the Prime Minister or the Chancellor of the Exchequer, then they are able to gain special treatment, potentially even significant financial ones.
“We need the Prime Minister to appear before the Liaison Committee immediately and for a thorough investigation into his conduct on this matter.”
During Prime Minister’s Questions earlier on Wednesday (21 April), Mr Johnson told the Commons that he was “happy to share all the details” of the exchanges with Sir James as there was “nothing to conceal”.
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