Lawyer Nick Freeman has urged Parliament to act on the wording of the Ministerial Code, which he fears could allow the Prime Minister to avoid renewed criticism from Partygate
Image: PA Archive/PA Images)
The famous lawyer, nicknamed Mr Loophole, has urged Parliament to close a clause that could unhook Boris Johnson over allegations he lied to MPs.
The Prime Minister faces an inquiry from the Commons Privileges Committee that he deliberately misled Parliament over Partygate bashes at Downing Street, first revealed by the Mirror.
If found guilty, he would have to resign because he would have broken the Ministerial Code.
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But experts have warned that the prime minister could escape censorship because the standard of proof for proving intent is so high.
Mr Johnson has already claimed his Partygate fine “did not violate the Code” as “there was no intention of breaking the law”.
Attorney Nick Freeman, who became famous for winning A-listers’ driving cases in court by exploiting legal formalities, fears Mr Johnson will extricate himself by insisting he had no intention of breaking the code.
He said: “That loophole saved Boris Johnson’s skin.
“Currently, a violation of the Ministerial Code must involve not only what is known in law as ‘actus reus’ – the act itself – but also ‘mens rea’ – demonstrating the criminal intent behind the act.
“The Prime Minister appears to be wriggling out of his predicament by using this loophole and claiming he has no intention of breaking the law.”
The high-profile lawyer, who has built a legendary legal career by exploiting little-known loopholes in the legislation, added: “There’s nothing wrong with exploiting a loophole to bring a case.
“Loopholes are perfectly legitimate legal acts – albeit laws that can be largely unknown and therefore offer an effective and unexpected defence.
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“Therefore, if the loophole is enshrined in the code, there is nothing out of the ordinary for Boris Johnson to cite as a defence.
“However, if we want ministers to be held accountable for criminal acts and ensure our elected representatives demonstrate the honesty and integrity required by their privileged position, this gap must be filled.”
Mr Johnson was fined £50 for attending a party in the Cabinet Room to mark his 56th birthday in June 2020.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/mr-loophole-wants-mps-close-27151950 Mr Loophole wants MPs to fill a loophole that could let Boris Johnson off the hook