Partygate: Boris Johnson is playing his political future this Wednesday against a parliamentary committee
The former Prime Minister will be questioned before the commission which must decide on his responsibility for the parties organized in Downing Street during the confinements.
Did Boris Johnson knowingly lie to British MPs? The former Prime Minister could stake his political future on Wednesday during a television hearing during which he will be questioned at length about the parties organized in Downing Street during the confinements against the Covid. The hearing before a parliamentary committee should begin in the afternoon and last between two and four hours. The 58-year-old former head of the Conservative government, forced to resign last July after a series of scandals including that of the “party gate“, has already made public his defense, pleading good faith in a 52-page memo published on Tuesday, where he points the finger at his main advisers.
The committee must determine whether Mr Johnson deliberately lied to the House of Commons, including when he claimed in December 2021 before MPs that “the rules were always respectedin Downing Street during the pandemic. THE “party gate“, these cascading revelations, for months, on the watered parties in Downing Street in full confinement, had aroused the anger of the British who had denounced a “Two weights, two measuresintolerable.
After a police investigation, Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie were previously fined in 2022 for attending a surprise party to mark the leader’s birthday in June 2020. Current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was was also there and also had to pay a fine. If the commission finds he lied, Boris Johnson risks losing his MP seat, jeopardizing the rest of his political career and his hopes of ever returning to Downing Street. In his defense published as “written evidence“, he affirms that he “takes full responsibility for everything that happens under (his) supervisionin Downing Street.
“Lack of shame”
He also recognizes that “several days», «there were ralliesat 10 Downing Street. “They should never have happened“, He continues, apologizing to the British. “It is of course true that my statements in Parliament that the rules had been followed at all times did not prove to be correct“, he writes. “But when these statements were made, they were made in good faith and based on what I honestly knew and believed at the time.“, he adds, explaining that he had based himself on what his main advisers had told him.
According to testimonies from former civil servants, Boris Johnson would have joked during a party organized in November 2020, saying that she was “the least respectful of social distancing in the whole of the UK“. In a preliminary report at the beginning of March, the commission indicated that the elements collected “strongly suggest“that violations of the anti-covid rules should be”obviousfor Boris Johnson.
“Mr Johnson’s defense continues to highlight his lack of shame and humility“, reacted Kathryn de Prudhoe, a psychotherapist whose father died at the start of the pandemic. “The victims in all of this are families like mine who have lost loved ones in the most traumatic of circumstances.»
Vote on suspension
For Bereaved Families for Justice, an organization that brings together families who have lost loved ones to the coronavirus, “it is obvious that Boris Johnson deliberately misled Parliament“. The group calls it “disgusting» the fact that he claims to have acted in good faith. If the inquiry committee finds Boris Johnson deliberately lied, MPs will vote on what penalties he could face, including suspension. Any suspension of more than 10 sitting days could trigger a by-election in his constituency, where he would have to defend a narrow majority of 7,210 votes.
If he resigned in July after three years in power, Boris Johnson attempted a return at the end of October when his short-lived successor, Liz Truss, left Downing Street. Despite the repeated scandals, his supporters continue to believe he has been betrayed by his conservative colleagues and see Wednesday’s hearing as a witch hunt.