Compiled: Top 10 Revelations from Boris Johnson’s Partygate Scandal

Boris Johnson faces a 90-day suspension for “deliberately” misleading Parliament about lockdown meetings at Number 10. 

The Privileges Committee deemed Mr Johnson to have “committed a serious contempt” in its much-anticipated 30,000-word report. “There is no precedent for a prime minister being found to have deliberately misled the House,” it continued.

The former Prime Minister, who resigned as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip last week, wasted no time in slamming the report, calling it a “charade” and pronouncing it a “dreadful day for MPs and democracy.” 

The cross-party Committee, led by Labour’s Harriet Harman, had been looking into Mr Johnson since last June.

Here are the top 10 revelations about Johnson’s scandal report:

1. He was aware of the rules and had “knowledge of breaches” of these rules in Number 10.

The Committee recognises that the rules and instructions in place to prevent the transmission of coronavirus changed between May 2020 and January 2021. 

Despite this, it was determined that Mr Johnson was aware of the rules in existence at the time of various gatherings based on “his own public statements.” A gathering has to be vital or necessary for work at the time. 

According to the report, workplace beverages to express gratitude, farewell, or celebrate birthdays “obviously” do not fit these criteria. 

The Committee examined six different gatherings and concluded that “he must have been aware of the number of people attending, the absence of official work being done, and the absence of social distancing without visible mitigations.”

2. He misled the House on numerous accounts 

As a result, the Committee determined that his remarks to the Commons were “deliberately misleading” on three instances.

He was discovered to have done so in Number 10 on December 1, 2021, December 8, 2021, January 12, 2022, and May 25, 2022, when he stated all rules were followed while he was present at meetings to wish personnel farewell.

According to parliamentary tradition, a “deliberately misleading statement” is a form of contempt.

3. He hid behind the Sue Gray report to avoid giving evidence 

The report suggests Mr Johnson also misled the House by saying there had to be an investigation into whether the rules and guidance had been broken before he could answer questions in the Commons.

The Committee concludes that he made this claim while withholding personal knowledge.

4. He continued to lie to the House and Committee after initial findings

Some of the subsequent denials were found to be “deliberate” attempts to mislead the House, as well as the Committee, in themselves.

5. He was ‘deliberately disingenuous’ in trying to rewrite the rules to suit his narrative

The Committee found he sought to retool the meaning of the national guidance to better fit the evidence he had already provided.

As an example, the report notes his unfounded assertion that “imperfect” social

distancing was perfectly acceptable when mitigations could not be put in place, or that morale-boosting events were legally permissible.

6. The Government gave emails, Whatsapp messages and photographs to the committee — but Boris only had “a limited number of WhatsApp messages”

This finding chimes with reports that Mr Johnson failed to hand over WhatsApp messages from the first 16 months of the pandemic because he had switched phones.

In what the Committee did receive, however, was references to a gathering as “the party”, in a chat with his then-press secretary Jack Doyle.

7. He “deliberately closed his mind” to the facts of social distancing breaches 

In their assessment of Mr Johnson’s reasoning, the Committee advanced two possibilities: either he was being dishonest, or he had “deliberately closed his mind to the obvious or to his own knowledge.”

8. He was complicit in the “campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation” of the Committee

The Committee finds that Mr Johnson was “insincere” in giving assurances that he would personally distance himself from the campaign to discredit the investigation.

The report claims: “We note that Mr Johnson does not merely criticise the fairness of the Committee’s procedures; he also attacks in very strong, indeed vitriolic, terms the integrity, honesty and honour of its members.”

The document makes specific reference of his derogatory characterisations of “kangaroo courts” and “witch hunts”.

This in itself, the Committee found constituted a further contempt. 

9. His statements last week were in breach of direct confidentiality instructions and are a further offence 

On the day of his resignation, June 9th, Mr Johnson released a scathing 1,000-word statement in which he claimed he was “forced out of Parliament”. 

This came after he was issued an advance copy of the Privileges Committee report released on Thursday. The final report found that he was in breach of the confidentiality requirements imposed on him in doing so.

The Committee found that he did this before they had reached their final conclusions, at a time when he knew they could not respond publicly. This was also found to be a “very serious” contempt.

10. He should be suspended for 90 days — but he’s already resigned 

A three-month ban was imposed for “repeated contempts and attempts to undermine the parliamentary process.” This would not be the harshest sentence ever given to an MP, nor would it have much of an impact on the former Prime Minister, who resigned on Friday. If he was still an MP, such a suspension would have lasted far longer than the time required to start a recall petition and maybe a by-election. The Committee also advised him not to accept a former Member’s pass.

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