Parliament has accepted the partygate report, which investigated whether Boris Johnson misled parliament. The report recommended a 90-day suspension and that he should be denied a former member's pass to the parliamentary estate. However, as BJ has resigned as an MP he doesn't have to serve the suspension.

What I don't understand is whether he would have to serve the suspension if he returned as an MP. On this answer, commenters are saying different things. If Boris Johnson is re-elected, will he immediately have to serve the 90-day suspension?

1 Answer 1


No, he would not. The report voted on by Parliament doesn't even recommend a 90-day suspension, it instead states that had Johnson not resigned that that would have been their recommendation.

In the light of Mr Johnson's further contempt, we put on record that if he had not resigned his seat, we would have recommended that he be suspended from the service of the House for 90 days [...] In view of the fact that Mr Johnson is no longer a Member, we recommend that he should not be granted a former Member's pass.

There is nothing within the report, nor the motion voted on by the House of Commons, that would result in his suspension if he were to return as an MP in the future. Furthermore, if Johnson were to return to a future Parliament (i.e. not to the current Parliament in a by-election), a sanction of this kind would run contrary to the principle that Parliaments cannot bind their successors. In addition, it would defeat the point of part of the consequences of a suspension; the Recall of MPs Act 2015 is designed to force MPs suspended for longer than 10 days to seek a renewed mandate from their constituents in the face of wrongdoing - if Johnson had just been reelected then he already has that fresh mandate.

With reference to the comments on my answer linked in the question, it was suggested that Sir Chris Bryant, the former Chair of the Privileges Committee, had stated that the suspension would apply to Johnson if he were to return to Parliament. However, I am unsure where Sir Chris made this statement, as this tweet from him seems pretty unequivocal to the contrary. Dr Hannah White, the director of the Institute for Government, has also concurred with this conclusion.

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    I'm not sure the "parliament can't bind a future parliament" principle is relevant. Parliament certainly can impose rules that a future parliament is by-default obliged to follow (e.g. things like the Fixed Term Parliaments Act). What it can't do is remove the future parliament's ability to change those rules. So if there somehow did end up with a floating future suspension in case Johnson is ever re-elected, AFAICS that would be perfectly in line with the principle; a future parliament that didn't like that would just change the rules so the suspension was no longer required.
    – Ben
    Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 3:24
  • @Ben Ah so if he returns and then resigns again he still can't have a former Member's pass. Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 4:01
  • There would be nothing to stop someone in the parliament of the day passing a motion to impose the penalty that would have been recommended. In-fact, I'd argue that that would be extremely likely if Labour were in government and Johnson returned at the next GE. The Recall of MPs act isn't there to add punishment to suspensions, its there to ensure that constituents can ensure they remain represented if their MP is suspended or goes to prison. I think you have that somewhat backwards. Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 10:50

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