Johnson deliberately misled Parliament over Partygate, damning report says | Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson deliberately misled Parliament over Partygate and was part of a campaign to abuse and intimidate MPs investigating him, according to a damning official investigation that threatens to tear the Conservative Party further apart.

The long-awaited report from the privileges committee said the former prime minister would have been suspended for 90 days from the House of Commons had he not resigned in anger at its findings last week.

The original suspension was to be 20 days, but the committee said his attempts at intimidation would have increased the sentence.

He was also found guilty of knowingly misleading the committee, breaking House of Commons rules by partially disclosing his findings last Friday and undermining democratic processes in parliament.

As a result, the cross-party committee recommended that Johnson be barred from obtaining the pass granted to former MPs which allows them privileged access to the Westminster estate.

In concluding that Johnson deliberately – and not just recklessly – misled Parliament, the committee cited his repeated and ongoing denials about his knowledge of gatherings breaking Downing Street rules as well as how often he “shut down his spirit” to the facts.

“The outrage was all the more serious as it was committed by the Prime Minister, the most senior member of the government,” he said. “He misled the house on a matter of the utmost importance to the house and the public, and has done so repeatedly.”

Shortly after the report was released, Johnson accused the committee, which has a Tory majority and a Labor chairman, of trying to “cause what is believed to be the latest stab in a protracted political assassination”. He said his conclusions were “absurd” and a sign of “desperation”.

Johnson’s allies reacted furiously and pledged to target Conservative members of the committee and Tory MPs who endorse his findings for deselection.

A vote on the findings, which will take place on Monday, will be a moment of great danger for Rishi Sunak as Johnson’s explosive reaction threatens to undermine efforts to draw a line under the Partygate scandal and end the vicious infighting which have erupted again in recent days. .

The row over the report has already led Johnson and loyalist Nigel Adams to call by-elections in Uxbridge and Selby on July 20 by stepping down, and Nadine Dorries plans to provoke another moment of peril for Sunak later in the summer.

Many Tory MPs are likely to endorse the outcome of the more than year-long free vote inquiry – which comes on Johnson’s 59th birthday and three years to the day since the No 10 celebration that led to him being fined from the police for breaking the coronavirus laws.

But there could be a damaging split on the government benches if Johnson’s allies refuse to follow suit. A Tory minister said: ‘This should put an end to Boris’ psychodrama once and for all. We’ve had enough – and enough of him. He has no one to blame except himself.

Downing Street declined to say whether Sunak would vote on the report on Monday, but he defended the committee. “This is a duly constituted committee which carries out work at the request of Parliament,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said. “It would not be fair to disparage or criticize the work of the committee.”

The 106-page report, which accuses Johnson of what amounts to an “attack on our democratic institutions”, concluded that the former MP had gravely disrespected Parliament in five main ways:

  • Misleading the Commons by claiming Covid rules and guidelines were followed at all times in No 10 on four occasions as well as when he claimed to correct the record; failing to inform deputies of his own knowledge of the gatherings; claiming he had received ‘repeated assurances’ that the rules had not been broken – despite only two people making the suggestion.

  • misleading the committee when he presented his evidence, many aspects of which were “not credible”; being “dishonest” when presenting his interpretation of government directives; repeatedly insisting that the No 10 rallies were within the rules because they were work events even though it was “highly unlikely”, he sincerely believed that all guidelines were being followed.

  • “Blatant” breach of trust when he raged against the committee’s tentative findings when he resigned by surprise after receiving a draft; leaked portions of the draft within 24 hours despite the committee’s specific warning against doing so.

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