Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has warned MPs not to interfere or intimidate the Privileges Committee as it considers whether Boris Johnson lied to Parliament.
His warning came as senior Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg labelled the position of the committeeâs chairwoman âabsurdâ and suggested the process was worse than a kangaroo court.
In a message to MPs, the Speaker said: âA very dim view will be taken of any Member who tries to prevent the Committee from carrying out this serious work, or of anyone from outside the House who interferes.â
âI would like to remind you that interference with or intimidation of a committee is potentially a contempt of the House and restraint is appropriate while the committeeâs work continues.â
Allies of Mr Johnson have criticised the committeeâs chairwoman and condemned the process it has followed ahead of Wednesdayâs showdown with the former prime minister.
Harriet Harmanâs suitability has been questioned over an April 2022 tweet in which she suggested that by accepting a fine for breaking Covid rules the former prime minister was also admitting to misleading the House.
Hours after the Speakerâs email, Mr Rees-Mogg told BBC Radio 4âs World At One programme: âI think Harriet Harmanâs position is absurd, that after (predecessor) Chris Bryant recused himself â quite rightly â she should not possibly have taken on the role when she had expressed her view clearly beforehand.â
Asked whether he shared the view expressed by some of Mr Johnsonâs supporters that the process was a kangaroo court, the former cabinet minister said: âI think youâre being very rude to marsupials… I think it makes kangaroo courts look respectable.â
He said âthe evidence is clear that they put out the case of the prosecution before they heard from the defenceâ, something that was âentirely unfair and prejudicialâ.