The long-awaited report by the privileges committee has revealed that, Boris Johnson intentionally deceived parliament over Partygate, and was part of an effort to slander and threaten MPs who were looking into the matter.
The cross-party panel said in this historic move that, he “closed his mind to the truth” and would have been subject to a ninety-day expulsion from the Commons had he not resigned, in disgust at the results last week.
Boris Johnson was also found to have intentionally misled the committee, broken the Commons norms by prematurely disclosing the committee’s conclusions last Friday, and compromised the democratic procedures of parliament.
However, a 20-day expulsion from the House of Representatives was originally scheduled for Johnson, which would have been sufficient to prompt a recall petition, and very certainly result in a bye-election. However, the committee claimed that, his venomous intimidation attempts on Friday, would have elevated the sentence to 90 days.
Johnson’s expulsion from parliament was supported by two MPs on the committee; one from the Labour Party and the other from the SNP, but all seven members unanimously endorsed the final verdict and sentence.
“He deliberately misled the house on an issue of the greatest importance to the house and to the public, and did so repeatedly,” the report said. The report also said, his attempt to brand the committee as a kangaroo court “amounts to an attack on our democratic institutions”.
Moreover, the committee cut down Johnson’s argument that, he thought all the parties in Downing Street were legitimate. The statement read, “That belief has no reasonable basis in the rules or on the facts.” Johnson previously said “a reasonable person looking at the events and the rules would not have the belief that Johnson has professed.”
The committee’s findings came in a damning 106-page assessment that was released on Thursday. The report also verified that, the government last month provided evidence of an additional 16 gatherings at No. 10 and Chequers, that were “potentially problematic.”
Boris Johnson claimed that, everything that happened were within the rules, and was required to assist his wife Carrie, who was expecting a baby. If it turned out that his pledges were false, the committee said, “he may have committed a further contempt” of parliament.
Additionally, Johnson was charged with trying to “re-write the meaning of the rules and guidance to fit his own evidence” both during the publicly broadcast sessions, and in written testimony. The committee however, criticized “the frequency with which he closed his mind” to the facts and “what was obvious,” leading to the conclusion that, the ex-Prime Minister “was deliberately closing his mind.”
The committee’s investigation was so thorough that, its MPs entered No. 10 to take measurements at the space where Johnson was seen sipping a drink with others gathered around him, who were not socially distanced.
It claimed that his assertion that, hosting the event was vital to boost staff morale following the retirement of two senior No. 10 staffers, did not give him permission to use a “conveniently flexible interpretation of the rules on gatherings.”
Furthermore, the MPs on the committee reportedly received heightened security as a result of Johnson and his allies’ enraged response. According to the committee, Johnson attacked “in very strong, indeed vitriolic, terms of integrity, honesty and honors of its members.”
With a Tory majority and a Labor chair, Johnson claimed that the committee was attempting to “bring about what is intended to be the final knife-thrust in a protracted political assassination.” He referred to their conclusions as absurd and an indication of “desperation.”
“This report is a charade. I was wrong to believe in the committee or its good faith. The terrible truth is that it is not I who has twisted the truth to suit my purposes. It is the chair Harriet Harman and her committee.”Boris Johnson, on the Privileges Committee’s report.