LONDON: Britain’s former prime minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday he inadvertently misled parliament over the “Partygate” scandal but blamed top aides, ahead of a televised grilling that could determine his political fate.
Johnson released a 52-page dossier detailing why he denied breaking the rules over two years of Covid lockdowns, when his staff were often partying in 10 Downing Street. He was fined himself by police for one gathering, along with his then finance minister and current prime minister Rishi Sunak.
The former Conservative leader apologised and corrected the parliamentary record last May after previously insisting to MPs that the gatherings were above board.
Johnson refused to quit at the time but did so in July, after a ministerial rebellion over a separate ethics scandal, and the stakes are high as his supporters agitate now for his return to power.
“I did not intentionally or recklessly mislead the House on Dec 1, 2021, Dec 8, 2021, or on any other date,” he wrote in the submission, which was reportedly drafted by one of London’s most expensive lawyers.
“I would never have dreamed of doing so.” The cross-party privileges committee of MPs is investigating whether he lied in his previous denials, prior to May, and is due to interrogate Johnson for up to four hours on Wednesday.
Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2023
Dear visitor, the comments section is undergoing an overhaul and will return soon.