Boris Johnson: MPs to conclude Partygate inquiryon June 12, 2023 at 1:56 am

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Mr Johnson quit as an MP dramatically on Friday, branding the Privileges Committee a “kangaroo court”.

Boris Johnson pictured outside in the sunlight. He is wearing a suit and is squinting slightly looking off to his right.Image source, PA Media

MPs investigating whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament about lockdown parties in Downing Street will meet on Monday to conclude their inquiry.

Mr Johnson resigned as an MP dramatically on Friday after he was sent an advanced copy of the Privileges Committee report.

The former prime minister described the committee as a “kangaroo court” trying to “drive him out of Parliament”.

The report will be finalised today and is likely to be published this week.

For almost one year, the seven-person committee – a majority of whom are Conservatives – have been considering whether Mr Johnson lied in the Commons about breaches of Covid rules in government.

In the wake of Mr Johnson’s sudden and angry resignation, a spokesperson for the panel insisted it would continue with its work and would publish the conclusions “promptly”.

The committee had been preparing to recommend suspending Mr Johnson as an MP for ten days or more, the BBC was told, a threshold which would have resulted in a recall petition among his constituents and a potential by-election.

But even if the MPs had recommended this, the full House of Commons would have had to approve the punishment.

By resigning, the former prime minister has avoided a sanction, although the committee is still able to add to the criticism in its report.

Over the weekend, the committee said Mr Johnson’s “kangaroo court” comments had impugned the integrity of Parliament.

In evidence given in March, Mr Johnson admitted misleading Parliament, but denied doing it on purpose.

He said social distancing had not been “perfect” at gatherings in Downing Street during lockdowns but insisted the guidelines, as he understood them, were followed at all times.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Energy Secretary Grant Shapps said people wanted to move on from the “drama” of Boris Johnson, dismissing the ex-PM’s claim that he was the victim of a witch hunt.

He said it was Mr Johnson’s “own decision” to stand down as an MP, and he denied reports Rishi Sunak’s team had prevented Mr Johnson from handing honours to key allies.

Mr Johnson stood down from Parliament just hours after Downing Street published his resignation honours list without the names of key supporters, including Nadine Dorries, Sir Alok Sharma and Nigel Adams.

All three had been expecting to be appointed to the House of Lords.

Competing claims about how and why the names were removed are now at the heart of a rift within the Tory party following the former PM’s resignation.

A source familiar with the process has told the BBC that Mr Sunak’s political team removed some of Mr Johnson’s suggestions months ago.

Asked if rumours were true that Mr Sunak’s team had removed the names, Mr Shapps said: “No.”

“The prime minster has exactly followed the very longstanding conventions” over honours, Mr Shapps said.

The House of Lords Appointments Commission (HOLAC) – the official body for checking and vetting new peers – has confirmed it rejected eight of Mr Johnson’s nominations on the grounds of propriety.

Within 24-hours of the list being published, both Ms Dorries and Mr Adams resigned as MPs – triggering by-elections in their constituencies, both of which are considered safe seats for the Conservatives.

Mr Johnson’s resignation also triggers a by-election in his marginal constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

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