Johnson ‘Deliberately Misled MPs’ on Downing Street Parties, Recommends Parliamentary Ban

A parliamentary investigation found that Boris Johnson purposefully deceived the House of Commons about parties hosted at Downing Street during the COVID-19 pandemic. The inquiry’s privileges committee also recommended that the former Prime Minister be suspended from parliament for 90 days.

The committee’s report, which was released this morning, included multiple allegations against Mr. Johnson:

  • He misled MPs on multiple occasions by falsely claiming that all rules were followed at Downing Street, despite the occurrence of parties that breached lockdown regulations.
  • His attempts to explain and justify these gatherings were deemed “deliberately disingenuous.”
  • He breached the committee’s confidence and impugned its credibility, thereby undermining the democratic process in the House of Commons.
  • He was found complicit in a campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation directed at the committee.

Additionally, the committee suggested that Mr. Johnson should not be granted a former member’s pass, which provides access to parliament following his resignation as an MP.

This investigation was initiated in June of last year after the police and former senior civil servant Sue Gray confirmed the occurrence of gatherings at Downing Street during lockdowns. The cross-party committee, led by Labour MP Harriet Harman, explored whether Mr. Johnson misled parliament about the adherence to COVID-19 regulations and rules at Number 10.

Mr. Johnson slammed the committee’s report right away, calling it a “deranged conclusion” and a “charade.” He questioned the committee’s motivations and accused Harriet Harman and her crew of manipulating the truth to suit their own ends.

The committee did not believe Mr. Johnson’s defence that he was not informed that the gatherings breached the regulations. The committee rejected his claim that a farewell party for communications chief Lee Cain was necessary for business purposes, noting that employee morale difficulties during the epidemic did not warrant his liberal reading of the regulations or social distancing advice.

Families who lost loved ones during the pandemic condemned Mr. Johnson, saying he should never occupy public office again. COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK highlighted the prime minister’s lack of sorrow and repeated lying about following the procedures, which contradicted their personal experiences.

Mr. Johnson resigned as an MP after receiving the preliminary findings, and the report was released as a result. In an attempt to discredit the committee, he called for the resignation of the committee’s senior Conservative member, Sir Bernard Jenkin, accusing him of hypocrisy. Opposition lawmakers condemned the action as an attempt to shift attention away from the report’s findings.

On Monday, MPs will vote on whether to support the committee’s recommendations and whether to revoke Mr. Johnson’s access to the parliamentary estate. The Prime Minister’s office has not confirmed his presence or voting intentions.

While some Conservative MPs defended Mr. Johnson, calling the committee’s findings “overreaching and vindictive,” others were taken aback by the harshness of the committee’s findings.

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