Boris Johnson apologises for sleaze row during grilling from MPs including Tory accusing father Stanley of groping

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BORIS Johnson was yesterday forced to fight back on multiple flanks as he faced interrogation on sleaze, the Budget tax bombshell and crime.

He also had an awkward grilling by the female Tory who this week accused his father Stanley of smacking her backside at a party conference.

Boris Johnson at PMQs yesterday
Mr Johnson

The PM, who’s also battling a sore throat, was already having a tough day after being scolded by raging Speaker Lindsay Hoyle at PMQs.

He finally admitted at the Liaison Committee of senior MPs he was “mistaken” for trying to save Owen Paterson.

The fallout of the botched bid to save the sleaze-scarred ex-minister has dogged the Government for two weeks and seen the Tories slump in the polls

Last night Mr Johnson – who’s now proposing a ban on second jobs as paid consultants – said: “I think it was a very sad case but I think there’s no question that he had fallen foul of the rules on paid advocacy as far as I could see from the report.

“The question that people wanted to establish was whether or not, given the particularly tragic circumstances, he had a fair right to appeal.”

Chris Bryant, boss of Parliament’s sleaze-watchdog , hauled Mr Johnson over the coals and insisted Mr Paterson’s appeal was heard “endlessly”.

Mr Johnson said: “In forming the impression that the former member for North Shropshire had not had a fair process I may well have been mistaken.”

In a meeting of MPs later the PM went further, admitting: “On a clear road, I crashed the car into a ditch.”

During the session:

  • Mr Johnson opened the door to sending cash to free detained Brit Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from Iran
  • He apologised for not wearing a mask while on a visit to Hexham Hospital last week
  • The PM warned Vladimir Putin against making a “tragic mistake” by stoking tensions on the Belarus-Poland border
  • He said he was “willing to look at” compulsory consent classes in school to tackle male violence against women
  • And he added that “cyber flashing” should be illegal like real flashing

TAXING TIMES

Mr Johnson also faced questions on last month’s Budget that whacked up taxes to their highest since the Second World War.

Along with eye-catching tax breaks for beer and wine, Rishi Sunak also sprayed billions at public services that come with a hefty tax bombshell.

He also cut the Universal Credit taper rate to 55 per cent, allowing millions of claimants to keep more of their money.

Tory MPs are nervous that taxes are so high, although the Chancellor says he wants to see them falling by the next election.

Mr Johnson said last night: “The country has been through the biggest fall in output, not just since the Second World War, but before the Second World War, the biggest that I can see for a very, very long time.

“And we had to look after people throughout the pandemic. And I think everybody understood the fiscal impact of that.”

AWKWARD ENCOUNTER

Mr Johnson will also took questions from Tory MP Caroline Nokes during a part of the session on violence against women and girls.

Yesterday she urged authorities to intervene before men turn harassment into serious sexual offences – like Sarah Everard killer Wayne Couzens.

But he slapped down her asks that hatred of women should become a crime, and insisted there were enough laws in place to protect women.

He told MPs: “I want to see proper enforcement of the law.”

Mr Johnson Senior insisted he had “no recollection” of the women and he had “no idea” what events they were talking about.

Ex-Cabinet Minister Ms Nokes this week accused the PM’s father Stanley of groping her at the 2003 Tory Party conference.

She told Sky News: “I can remember a really prominent man – at the time the Conservative candidate for Teignbridge in Devon – smacking me on the backside about as hard as he could and going, ‘oh, Romsey, you’ve got a lovely seat’.”

It prompted journalist Ailbhe Rea to also accuse Stanley of groping her at the 2019 Tory conference.

Last night Stanley told the Sun: “I have no recollection of Caroline Nokes, and no idea what she was talking about.”

And he added: “Had I been asked about the allegation made by the journalist of the New Statesman, I would have said the same thing.”

Downing St has so far refused to comment on the allegations.

The PM bats off questions from senior MPs