People walk in front of the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, 15 June 2023. EFE/EPA/NEIL HALL

Ex-PM Johnson ‘deliberately misled’ MPs over Partygate scandal

London, Jun 15 (EFE).- Former British prime minister Boris Johnson “deliberately misled” the House of Commons over a series of parties that took place at Downing Street during a strict pandemic lockdown, a parliamentary committee said Thursday.

The Privileges Committee was set up to examine whether Johnson, who was prime minister from July 2019 to September 2022, misled Parliament when he denied lockdown and social distancing rules had been breached at Downing Street while he was in office.

(FILE) Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves after announcing his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party in Downing Street, London, Britain, 07 July 2022.

“We conclude that when he told the House and this Committee that the rules and guidance were being complied with, his own knowledge was such that he deliberately misled the House and this committee,” a report by members of parliament who were tasked with investigating the “partygate” scandal found.

When the scandal came to light in late 2021, Johnson assured lawmakers in the House of Commons that he was not aware that any lockdown rules had been broken at Downing Street.

“We came to the view that some of Mr Johnson’s denials and explanations were so disingenuous that they were by their very nature deliberate attempts to mislead the committee and the House, while others demonstrated deliberation because of the frequency with which he closed his mind to the truth,” the report added.

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, who was recommended for a peerage by Boris Johnson in resignation honours, poses with the MP’s committee report into the conduct of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, 15 June 2023. EFE/EPA/NEIL HALL

In the report, the committee, which had a Conservative majority and was chaired by Labor MP Harriet Harman, said it would have recommended a 90-day parliamentary suspension for the 58-year-old.

But Johnson resigned as an MP to his constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip on Friday after he said it had become clear the committee was preparing to expel him from parliament.

Johnson has lashed out at the findings and said in an opinion piece published in the Evening Standard on Wednesday that the conclusions of the report were “deranged” and a “final knife-thrust in a protracted political assassination – that is beneath contempt.”

A poster featuring former Prime Minster Boris Johnson pictured in London, Britain, 14 June 2023. EFE/EPA/NEIL HALL

The committee also accused Johnson of being “complicit in the campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation” of committee members.

“We consider that these statements are completely unacceptable. In our view this conduct, together with the egregious breach of confidentiality, is a serious further contempt,” the report added. EFE