Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

The partygate report is damning for Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson (Credit: Getty images)

The Privileges Committee has published its report on whether Boris Johnson deliberately misled parliament over partygate. It is damning.

The 30,000-word document finds that he committed multiple contempts of parliament, including deliberately misleading the house, deliberately misleading the committee, breaching confidence, impugning the committee and the democratic process of the house and ‘being complicit in the campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation of the committee’.

The committee, consisting of seven MPs including four Tories, had to update its conclusions after Johnson resigned, saying that it would have recommended a 90-day suspension of the former prime minister. But it has now recommended that he should not be granted a former members’ pass. This punishment seems to have increased as a result of the response from Johnson to the inquiry and its conclusions: it is not just about the initial offences where he told MPs that he had been assured that the guidance had been followed at all times.

The key section in the report concerns Johnson’s attitude to the inquiry itself

When it comes to that initial incident of misleading the House, the committee rests heavily on the evidence from his former press secretary Jack Doyle and private secretary Martin Reynolds. The report concludes that this evidence shows that Johnson did not receive the level of assurance that rules and guidance had been followed at all times. It points out that:

‘Doyle has stated that he did not discuss whether any gatherings had been compliant with Covid guidance, as opposed to Covid rules, and did not advise Mr Johnson to say No. 10 had complied with Covid guidance at all times.’

Reynolds also told the Committee that he had ‘questioned whether it was realistic to argue that all guidance had been followed at all times, given the nature of the working environment in No.

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Isabel Hardman
Written by
Isabel Hardman
Isabel Hardman is assistant editor of The Spectator and author of Why We Get the Wrong Politicians. She also presents Radio 4’s Week in Westminster.

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