Former prime minister Boris Johnson could face a “witch hunt” before MPs at a grilling over his involvement in the lockdown-busting partygate scandal, a key ally has warned.
Lord Greenhalgh, who was a deputy mayor during Johnson’s tenure at City Hall, said he was “concerned it will be a witch hunt” and hoped he would get a “fair and just hearing”.
Johnson is set to appear before the Privileges Committee on Wednesday, where MPs will quiz him on his comments over the partygate row, including claims he misled the House of Commons.
His allies have previously dubbed the process a “kangaroo court”, according to reports.
“We want swift justice – and I think this has gone on for too long – and we also want to have sure justice,” Greenhalgh said.
It comes as Commons health committee chairman, Conservative MP Steve Brine, is under investigation, over claims he lobbied the NHS for a recruitment firm during the Covid crisis.
The ex-PM will publish evidence in his defence aiming to clear his name ahead of the televised evidence session, which could last as long as five hours, according to the BBC.
An initial update on the committee’s findings claimed Johnson, who was fined by the Met Police’s partygate investigation, may have misled parliament multiple times – which he has repeatedly denied.
Labour committee chairwoman Harriet Harman is expected to lead the questioning, which will see Johnson aim to convince seven cross-party MPs that he did not mislead the House.
However, if he is found to have misled MPs, he risks a suspension from the Commons.
If this is longer than ten days, it could spark a recall petition from constituents and trigger a by-election in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat, where he saw a 7,210 majority in 2019.
MPs would have to vote to approve sanctions on Johnson and prime minister Rishi Sunak – who was also issued a fixed penalty notice (FPN) over the Met’s partygate investigation, has said Tory MPs would be granted a free vote – meaning they would not be whipped.
Civil servant Sue Gray, who is set to become Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s chief of staff, carried out an internal probe into the reports of illegal gatherings going on at Downing Street.
Newspapers including the Sunday Times and Telegraph say Johnson’s dossier will feature advice he claims he received from No10 aides telling him Covid rules were not broken.
Cabinet office minster Oliver Dowden, who served in Johnson’s government, told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, he expected his former boss to offer a “robust defence”.
Johnson’s spokesman told the broadcaster the committee “will vindicate [his] position”. They added: “The evidence will show Boris Johnson did not knowingly mislead parliament.”