15 June 2023

What are the key points of the Privileges Committee’s findings on Boris Johnson?

15 June 2023

A parliamentary report has found that Boris Johnson deliberately misled Parliament with denials over partygate before launching what amounted to an “attack on our democratic institutions”.

The 106-page document covers both the assurances the former prime minister gave to MPs over gatherings in Downing Street during the coronavirus pandemic and his subsequent criticism of the Privileges Committee tasked with investigating his behaviour.

Here are its key points:

– Mr Johnson misled the House of Commons by claiming that Covid-19 rules and guidance were followed at all times in Number 10 on four separate occasions;

– He also misled MPs by failing to tell the Commons “about his own knowledge of the gatherings where the rules or guidance had been broken”;

– Claiming he relied on “repeated reassurances” that rules had not been broken also amounted to misleading the House;

– Mr Johnson misled the House by insisting on waiting for former civil servant Sue Gray’s report to be published before he could answer questions in the House, when he had “personal knowledge which he did not reveal”;

– His claim that rules and guidance had been followed while he was present at gatherings in Number 10 when he “purported to correct the record” in May 2022 also amounted to misleading the House;

– The former prime minister was “disingenuous” with the committee in a number of ways, including by adopting a “narrow and restricted interpretation” of the assurances he gave to the House;

– As well as being reckless, Mr Johnson intended to mislead the House, the report concludes. Many aspects of his defence were “not credible” and taken together they “form sufficient basis for a conclusion that he intended to mislead”;

– In deliberately misleading the Commons, the then-Conservative Party leader committed a “serious contempt” of Parliament, made all the more grave because he was the most senior member of Government at the time;

– Mr Johnson committed an “egregious breach of confidentiality” by revealing the contents of the warning letter he received from the committee when he resigned as an MP on Friday;

– His “vitriolic” attack on the committee and its work amounts to “an attack on our democratic institutions”, which, taken together with the confidentiality breach, is a “serious further contempt”;

– If he had not pre-emptively resigned, the committee said it would have recommended a 90-day suspension from the Commons;

– Mr Johnson should not be granted a former member’s pass – which is normally available to former MPs.

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