Boris Johnson faces legal action over reported threats to withhold cash from constituencies Conservative MPs who refused to support his botched attempt to help an ally avoid punishment for filth.
After this month’s House of Commons vote on the Owen Paterson case, there were reports of backbench Tories being whipped warned that their territories would lose state funding if they did not support the Prime Minister.
The Good Law Project described the alleged threats as “gangsters” and wrote a letter to Secretary Michael Gove requesting the publication of any internal communications, texts or emails relating to them.
In a pre-action letter, the right-wing group’s campaign – which has also taken on cases of alleged misconduct in awarding PPE contracts to Tory contacts – warned Mr Gove that it was ready to go to court.
In a statement announcing its move, the GLP described the allegations of financial pressure on MPs as “shocking stuff” that ministers had not denied.
“It not only undermines parliament and weakens the independence of MPs, if the allegations are true, the allegations are in the realm of crime,” the group said.
“The threat of cutting funding for local communities in order to force MPs to vote to save a disgraced MP also reveals the truth behind what the government likes to refer to as ‘leveling’.
“As always, it is people from difficult communities who pay the price in the end.”
The project said it challenges Mr. Gove to deny the alleged conduct and stop future threats of this kind.
“The reports point to a very serious misuse of public funds in the area of criminal activity by or on behalf of the Prime Minister,” the statement said. “We won’t stand by and watch.”
Mr Johnson won the November 3 vote by 250-232, but his majority was greatly reduced by dozens of abstentions and 13 rebels voting against.
An angry backlash forced him to make a humiliating U-turn the next morning, and he later admitted “throwing the car into a ditch”.
Many Tories, particularly younger MPs and those from Red Wall Seats in the North and Midlands, complained that they were being dragged into reluctantly assisting a colleague found guilty of violating parliamentary rules by the Commons Standards Committee by lobbying on behalf of companies that paid him more than $ 100,000 a year.
One backbencher reportedly said MPs were told “they would lose funding for their constituency” if they did not vote with the prime minister.
Paterson later stepped down as a MP to avoid the committee’s recommended 30-day suspension and to trigger a by-election in his North Shropshire seat.
There was no immediate response from Mr. Gove’s Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities The independent one‘s request for a comment.