Who is on the Privileges Committee? Which MPs are going to question Boris Johnson about partygate

The former PM faces questions in an extended inquiry hearing led by Harriet Harman

Boris Johnson faces MPs on the Privileges Committee today, where he will be questioned on whether he knowingly misled Parliament about illegal gatherings in Downing Street while Covid restrictions were in place.

The former PM was among those who received fines from the Metropolitan Police after an investigation concluded that several gatherings in No 10 breached Covid guidelines at the time.

Johnson’s hearing will begin at 2pm, with coverage on NationalWorld TV and most news channels likely to be showing parts of the session. You can also follow goings-on in the session live with analysis on NationalWorld’s liveblog.

The committee will publish a report on the inquiry which could recommend that Johnson be suspended from Parliament for ten days, which would trigger a recall petition and could result in a by-election.

What is the Privileges Committee?

The Privileges Committee is a Commons committee that has been charged with undertaking a parliamentary investigation into whether Johnson lied to MPs over the partygate row. This is not the first time that MPs have considered whether an individual is in contempt of Parliament, but it is perhaps one of the most high-profile cases.

The committee, a seven-member cross-party body, is examining evidence from at least four occasions when Johnson may have misled MPs with his assurances to the Commons that lockdown rules were followed. There are four Conservative MPs, two Labour MPs - including the chair - and one SNP MP.

The committee will publish its findings on whether Johnson committed a contempt of Parliament and can make a recommendation on any punishment. But the ultimate decision will lie with the full House of Commons, meaning MPs will vote on any sanction the committee suggests.

Who is on the Privileges Committee?

Labour grandee Harriet Harman is chair of the Privileges Committee. In Parliament since 1982, she is the longest-standing female MP and a former Cabinet minister.

Harman, due to stand down at the next general election, has long been an outspoken advocate for equality in politics and a strong feminist. She has served in numerous government roles and senior positions in Labour under a succession of leaders, and also served as deputy leader.

Sir Bernard Jenkin is another veteran MP on the committee. A Conservative, he has been in Parliament since 1992. A veteran Tory Eurosceptic and chairman of the powerful Liaison Committee, he was a critic of Johnson’s handling of the Chris Pincher affair - which eventually led to the former PM stepping down - and is an often vocal voice from the backbenches.

Sir Charles Walker, another member of the committee, is standing down at the next election. Another independently minded Conservative backbencher, he made headlines last year for his emotional criticism of the chaos that engulfed the final days of the Truss administration.

Conservative MP Andy Carter, who was elected in 2019 to represent Warrington South, is another member of the committee. Alberto Costa, elected in 2015 for South Leicestershire, is the final Tory member of the committee.

Labour’s Yvonne Fovargue, an MP since 2010, has held a number of shadow ministerial roles during her time in Parliament. She has been a member of the committee since September 2021.

Allan Dorans is the sole SNP member. An MP since 2019, he represents Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock.