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[News] Boris Johnson's official partygate defence set to be revealed today


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Boris Johnson repeatedly told the House of Commons that lockdown-breaking gatherings had not taken place during the COVID pandemic. Pictures subsequently emerged which showed him at various events that appeared to feature food, alcohol, and a Christmas quiz.



Boris Johnson's defence against claims he lied to parliament about Downing Street lockdown parties is expected to be published today.

The former prime minister's case will be submitted to the privileges committee by barrister Lord Pannick KC, and allies believe his position - that he was unaware any gatherings broke the rules - will be "vindicated".

An estimated £220,000 of taxpayers' money has been allocated for Mr Johnson's legal bills.

The seven-member privileges committee, chaired by Labour's Harriet Harman but with a Tory majority, will decide whether the Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP misled the Commons - and if it was "reckless or intentional".

Should his actions be deemed a contempt of parliament, the committee will recommend a punishment that MPs will subsequently get to decide upon - with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expected to grant a free vote.

A suspension from parliament of 10 days or more could ultimately trigger a by-election in Mr Johnson's seat.

His defence will be revealed before he faces the committee on Wednesday. A spokesperson for Mr Johnson said: "The committee will vindicate Boris Johnson's position. The evidence will show that Boris Johnson did not knowingly mislead parliament." 


The committee is examining evidence from at least four occasions when he may have misled the Commons with his guarantees that restrictions were adhered to.

An interim report by the committee earlier this month suggested breaches of lockdown rules in place during the coronavirus pandemic should have been "obvious" to Mr Johnson.

But he has said there is "no evidence in the report that I knowingly or recklessly misled parliament".

He is expected to highlight previously unrevealed WhatsApp messages from senior civil servants and members of his Number 10 team, showing he had relied on their advice when he made his statements.

Others will showcase a belief that the gatherings were covered by the "workplace exemption" in the lockdown rules.


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Member -> Moderator -> Super Moderator -> Supervisor -> Ex-Staff (Absent) -> Supervisor ->  Administrator -> Ex-Staff  ->  Administrator -> Ex-Staff

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