Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson accepts that he deceived Parliament when, while in charge of the Government, he repeatedly assured that the rules of confinement had not been violated after the press brought to light the different parties held in Downing Street in the middle of the pandemic. However, he stresses that he acted in “good faith.”
“I did not intentionally or recklessly mislead the House on December 1, 2021, December 8, 2021, or any other date. I never would have dreamed of doing it”, he emphasizes now. “I accept that the House of Commons was misled by my statements that the rules had been fully followed. But when the statements were made, they were made in good faith and based on what I honestly knew and believed at the time,” he added.
The arguments with which the eccentric politician tries to prove his innocence are collected in a dossier prepared by his legal team, published this Tuesday ahead of the questioning he must face this Wednesday before the Parliamentary Committee investigating the Partygate scandal that last summer ended up forcing his resignation.
After an independent investigation and later police investigation determined that the rules were indeed broken, the Committee must now analyze whether Johnson lied to Westminster and, should he find that he did so deliberately, it could be grounds for suspension from the House of Commons, potentially ending his political career.
In the document of 52 pages that Johnson has given to the Committee assumes “full responsibility for everything that happened” under his tenure. But he denies that they accuse him of not having done “everything possible to ensure fairness.” And he accuses of trusting the “disgraced Dominic Cummings,” the one who in his day was his all-powerful adviser.
Privileges Committee says Johnson’s legal argument “does not contain new documentary evidence” and was filed late due to “a number of errors and typos.”
In an interim report, the Committee recently said that current evidence suggests that breaches of anti-covid rules in Downing Street they were “obvious” to Johnson. The inquiry is chaired by Labor MP Harriet Harman, although the seven-member panel has a Conservative majority.
In January 2022, independent inquiry by senior civil servant Sue Gray it has already determined that “there were failures in leadership and judgment by Number 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times.” Subsequently, in April of last year, a police investigation fined up to 83 people for attending these events. Among them, Johnson himself, his wife, Carrie, and the then Economy Minister, Rishi Sunak, now Prime Minister.
Downing Street confirmed at the time that they corresponded to a surprise party organized on June 19, 2020 to celebrate Johnson’s birthday. The event – which was limited to offering a cake, sandwiches and soft drinks before a Cabinet meeting – was organized by Carrie Johnson when indoor meetings were prohibited.