Boris Johnson denies lying to Parliament about the ‘partygate’ scandal

The former British Prime Minister declared this March 22 before the Committee on Privileges of Parliament that it is investigating whether he lied before the British camera after it was known to the public that he and his Government held parties at 10 Downing Street in the hardest moment of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the entire United Kingdom was confined. If his guilt is proven, he could lose his seat as a deputy.

“I am here to tell you, with my hand on my heart, that I did not lie to the House.” With these words, former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended himself before the parliamentary commission that is investigating him for having lied at the legislative headquarters.

Suspicion falls on Johnson that he misled other deputies regarding his knowledge of the ‘partygate’ scandal, the parties that he and part of his government team held during the strongest phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Johnson has accepted that the answers he gave before Parliament were not correct, but he continues to maintain that he spoke of what he knew up to that moment, so he did not deliberately lie and his words were in “good faith”.

The former prime minister was very critical of the commission investigating him, which he accused of being biased, and apologized for having “inadvertently misled this Chamber.”

Johnson may risk his political career in this investigation, since if it is shown that he was fully aware of the rules that were broken at that party and deliberately lied to the Legislative, he could be suspended from his seat in Parliament and even lose it.

Johnson claims that “there is no document” that testifies that he broke the rules

During his statement on March 22, Johnson stated that these meetings were exclusively for work and that the safety distance of two meters was respected “whenever possible.”

In addition, he assured that he was also unaware that the Police considered these meetings as illegal, despite the fact that the former prime minister was fined by the authorities for this reason, being the first to commit a punishable offense while holding the position that heads the British Government.

A group of people protest against former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in London, Britain, on March 22, 2023. © Henry Nicholls / Reuters

Despite this, in his testimony Johnson stated: “there is not a single document that indicates that I received any warning or advice that some event broke or could have broken the rules or guidelines.” And he accused his ex-adviser Dominic Cummings of the situation, pointing out that he was behind everything.

Johnson denied that it would have been “obvious” for him to have broken rules or guidance, adding that no official had raised any issues with him. In this he also involved the current prime minister, the conservative Rishi Sunak, who was also present at the meetings.

“It’s no secret that Dominic Cummings feels animosity towards me, having publicly stated on multiple occasions that he wanted to do everything possible to remove me ‘from power’,” said Johnson, who went on to reiterate that “he cannot be treated as a credible witness ”.

A group of people protest against former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in London, Britain, on March 22, 2023.

A group of people protest against former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in London, Britain, on March 22, 2023. © Henry Nicholls / Reuters

Commission investigations

For her part, Harriet Harman, president of the commission, stressed the importance of ministers telling the truth, stating that this affects the functioning of the British parliamentary system. “Deceiving the Chamber may seem like a technical matter, but it is a matter of great importance,” she declared before the former president.

On Wednesday the commission published 110 pages of evidence, showing that some Downing Street officials claimed Johnson must have known the parties had taken place despite his denials.

In the new evidence, Cabinet Secretary Simon Case stated that he had never given any guarantee that health regulations had been complied with at the executive headquarters and that he did not know of any official who had done so.

Boris Johnson resigned as Prime Minister last September after this scandal came to light. After this case, linked to the economic and political crisis that the United Kingdom is going through, the intention to vote in favor of the Conservative Party has plummeted in favor of the Labor Party. Johnson, who has never hidden that he intends to challenge for the premiership again, depends on what this commission resolves to continue strong in his political career.

With EFE and Reuters

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