MPs triggered a political earthquake today by finding Boris Johnson repeatedly lied to the Commons over Partygate.
After 14 months of investigation, the Privileges Committee concluded in a bombshell report that the ex-PM ‘deliberately misled’ Parliament about lockdown breaches in Downing Street.
It said he had been ‘disingenuous’ and if he had not already quit the House he should have been suspended for 90 days. That would have been the longest period in modern political history apart from Keith Vaz in 2019.
The report also said Mr Johnson should be banned from getting a former MP pass for the Parliamentary estate.
But the ground is laid for a titanic battle, with Mr Johnson and his allies accusing the cross-party group – which has a Labour chair but a Tory majority among the seven members – of ‘monstrous hypocrisy’ and bias against him.
In a statement this morning, he dismissed the findings as ‘tripe’ and ‘deranged’, saying the committee was ‘beneath contempt’ and part of a ‘protracted political assassination’.
‘We didn’t believe that what we were doing was wrong, and after a year of work the Privileges Committee has found not a shred of evidence that we did,’ he said.
He demanded senior Tory Sir Bernard Jenkin follow him in resigning after allegations emerged that he attended a drinks party for his wife in Parliament during lockdown.
‘Why was it illegal for me to thank staff and legal for Sir Bernard to attend his wife’s birthday party?’ Mr Johnson said.
‘The hypocrisy is rank. Like Harriet Harman, he should have recused himself from the inquiry, since he is plainly conflicted.’
In a highly personal attack on Sir Bernard, known as a naturist, Mr Johnson said the committee’s argument was ‘so threadbare that it belongs in one of Bernard Jenkin’s nudist colonies’.