Boris Johnson Denies Lying in UK “Partygate” Grilling
Story Code : 1048385
Opening the hearing by a House of Commons committee, the ex-Conservative leader swore an oath and declared that “hand on heart, I did not lie to the House.”
Johnson said it would have been “utterly insane” to lie about the gatherings in 10 Downing Street, many of which were found by police to have broken COVID lockdown legislation that he introduced.
“People who say that we were partying in lockdown simply do not know what they are talking about,” he added, insisting that even gatherings that included booze should be viewed as workplace meetings.
Privileges committee chairwoman Harriet Harman said the hearing went to the “heart of our democracy” because if lawmakers are willfully misled by ministers, “we can’t do our job.”
Supporters insist that Johnson was betrayed by his Conservative colleagues when he was forced out of office last year, and are campaigning for his return ahead of a general election likely next year. But opinion polls suggest he remains toxic for a large swathe of the electorate, and that the committee hearing reopened old wounds.
If the committee decides that Johnson lied to parliament, it could recommend his suspension from the House of Commons. Then, if the House agrees to a suspension of more than 10 sitting days, that could trigger a special election for his seat, if enough voters demand one.