Fury as MPs get just 20 minutes to grill Boris Johnson on Dominic Cummings

Senior MPs are furious after being told they will only have 20 minutes to grill Boris Johnson on Dominic Cummings and a string of other topics.

The PM is set to appear before the Commons Liaison Committee – which is mainly made up of the chairs of other Select Committees – tomorrow for 90 minutes.

But Bernard Jenkin, an ally of Mr Johnson who was installed by Number 10 as the committee’s chairman last week, told members they should only expect a fraction of that time to ask questions on a series of Covid-19 topics including Mr Cummings.

Furthermore, some senior MPs who were expecting to be invited to take part in the committee have been told they are not.

Tobias Ellwood, chair of the Defence Select Committee and Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, both say they have not been invited to take part in the grilling.

A briefing note circulated by Sir Bernard shows 20 minutes have been allocated to discuss Mr Cummings as well as three other coronavirus topics, according to the Guardian.

Bernard Jenkin

The slot will include questions on “Dominic Cummings, roles and responsibilities, Covid-19 ‘war cabinet’, coordination with Scot/Wales/NI”.

The newspaper also reports unhappiness that there is not opportunity scheduled to question the PM on relations with China, or any other aspect of foreign affairs or national security.

The remaining hour and ten minutes will see MPs question the PM on coronavirus science, testing, tracking, plans to reopen schools and restarting the economy.

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Downing Street put up Tory MP Bernard Jenkin – a key Vote Leave figure – as the only candidate for the chairmanship of the powerful Liaison Committee.

It’s the only Parliamentary Committee which can compel the Prime Ministers to appear before it and answer questions.

Mr Johnson has never appeared before the committee since becoming Prime Minister, having cancelled three scheduled appearances under different chairs.

He agreed to a 90 minute session only after Sir Bernard was appointed.

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Coronavirus outbreak

Opposition MPs and Tory rebels failed in a bid to block Sir Bernard’s appointment last week, branding the appointment “shameful” and “autocratic”.

Previously the Liaison Committee has been made up of chairs of other parliamentary committees – and they have chosen who leads it between them.

Sir Bernard does not sit on a Select Committee.


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