BORIS Johnson branded the Partygate probe’s conclusion “deranged” after MPs found him guilty of deliberately lying to the Commons — and sought to ban him from Parliament.
Had the ex-PM not quit in a rage last Friday, he would be facing a 90-day suspension — the second largest punishment of modern times.
Boris Johnson branded the Partygate probe’s conclusion ‘deranged’, the ex-PM pictured on a run yesterday near his Oxfordshire home
Johnson at a leaving do at No10 in 2020 during Covid restrictions
After a 14-month probe — which Mr Johnson called “a charade” — the Commons Privileges Committee yesterday decreed that he deliberately misled MPs on five occasions.
The seven-strong panel, led by Labour’s Harriet Harman, fired a 50,000-word rocket at Boris — which his critics branded “utterly bizarre and preposterous”.
The panel said that Boris:
- LIED on four separate occasions that Covid rules were followed at all times in No10;
- FAILED to tell the Commons about his own knowledge of gatherings where rules or guidance was broken;
- DID NOT get repeated “reassurances” from aides that the Covid rules hadn’t been broken;
- MADE it worse by being “disingenuous” when giving evidence to the MPs in six ways which amounted to lying.
The panel said he was “complicit” in a “campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation of the committee” — with punishments on the cards for his allies who attacked the panel.
MPs will vote on Monday over whether to ban Mr Johnson from holding a Parliamentary pass after he stole the committee’s thunder and quit last week.
Furious Johnson supporters accused the panel of being a “kangaroo court” involved in a “witch hunt” against the ex-PM.
Sir James Dudderidge MP said “History will hold Boris in higher regard than this committee.”
But the panel said Mr Johnson’s denials and explanations “were so disingenuous that they were by their very nature deliberate attempts to mislead the committee and the House”.
Mr Johnson went on the attack as soon as the dossier was published at 9am saying members “twisted the truth” and it was a “dreadful day for democracy”.
In a 1,700-word response he called the conclusions “deranged” and the probe a “charade”.
He added: “This decision means that no MP is free from vendetta, or expulsion on trumped up charges by a tiny minority who want to see him or her gone from the Commons.”
Mr Johnson — whose legal bill for the inquiry ran to £245,000 — had been sent initial report findings in which the committee provisionally concluded he deliberately misled the House and should be suspended — potentially triggering a by-election.
When he quit, he said there was “not a shred of evidence” to back up the panel’s conclusions.
The MPs said he undermined the Parliamentary process by speaking out and the further contempt would see him suspended for 90 days.
The committee was also provided with a new bundle of evidence from the Government last month relating to 16 new gatherings at both No10 and Chequers.
The diary entries were sent to the panel without prior notice as part of work for the ex-PM’s Covid Inquiry witness statement.
Mr Johnson hit back insisting each gathering was “reasonably necessary” for work purposes and guidance, such as the rule of six, was applied at all times.
In evidence released by the committee, one No10 worker said observing Covid rules was nothing more than a “pantomime”.
They said the security team sent notes to be mindful of TV cameras outside, not to go out in groups and to social distance.
A witness statement revealed that “Wine Time Fridays” continued in the building despite the onset of the pandemic with birthdays and leaving parties carrying on as normal.
Downing Street said the panel was a “properly constituted committee carrying out work at the behest of Parliament”.
MPs will have a free vote on the committee’s report on Monday — Boris’ 59th birthday.
With Tory MPs divided over the report, No 10 has not said if Mr Sunak will attend the vote.
His official spokesman said: ‘”He hasn’t yet had time to fully consider the report. He does in- tend to take the time to do that”.
Nadine Dorries, whose peerage was rejected, has called for anyone who votes against Johnson to be kicked out the party.
Ally Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said Johnson will ultimately lose the vote because of the Opposition, adding “you also have the Boris haters in the Conservative Party”.
A by-election in Mr Johnson’s Uxbridge constituency in West London will be held on July 20.
MPs will have a free vote on the committee’s report on Monday
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