Boris Johnson grilled by the Privileges Committee

Photo credit: © The Independent
Photo credit: © The Independent

During Wednesday's hearing with the Privileges Committee, Boris Johnson engaged in a heated exchange with senior MPs regarding his reassurances to the Commons that Covid rules and guidance were followed in No10 during the Partygate scandal. The former prime minister defended his actions, stating that the boozy gatherings were necessary for work morale during the pandemic.

Ahead of the televised hearing, Johnson criticised the cross-party committee of MPs investigating his alleged lying over Partygate, describing their claims as "absurd, illogical and partisan." In a 52-page defense, he admitted to misleading MPs about breaking the rules, but argued that he did so unintentionally and in good faith based on his understanding at the time.

He also defended his attendance at multiple leaving parties, stating that it was his duty as prime minister. Johnson claimed that he believed drinking wine at No. 10 was within the rules and that officials believed it was necessary for work purposes. He attributed the lack of social distancing to the cramped London townhouse and argued that proximity was sometimes unavoidable but acceptable under the guidance.

If the committee determines that Boris Johnson "recklessly" misled MPs, he could face suspension from Parliament, which could lead to a byelection in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat.