Boris Johnson admits misleading Parliament over Partygate but says it was ‘unintentional’
Boris Johnson has denied “intentionally” misleading parliament over alleged breaches of lockdown rules during parties at 10 Downing Street.
Johnson acknowledged his claims to MPs, that Covid rules had been “followed at all times,” did not “turn out to be correct.”
However, the former prime minister denied deliberately misleading parliament, as he claimed he immediately corrected the record on discovering rules had been broken.
His comments were published in a document submitted by the former Prime Minister to the House of Commons Privileges Committee this morning.
It comes as he prepares to give live evidence to the committee on Wednesday in a marathon televised session of up to four hours, amid renewed interest in the so-called ‘partygate’ saga.
“There is no evidence at all that supports an allegation that I intentionally or recklessly misled the House,” Johnson said in written submissions to the Privileges Committee.
“As soon as the Sue Gray investigation and the Metropolitan Police investigation had been concluded, I corrected the record,” Johnson said.
“I believed – and I still believe – that this was the earliest opportunity at which I could make the necessary correction.”
“It was not fair or appropriate to give a half-baked account, before the facts had been fully and properly established, including into many events about which I had no personal knowledge.”
He added the Committee “appears to be mounting a case that, despite the absence of any evidence of warnings or advice, it should have been ‘obvious’ to me that the Rules and Guidance were not being followed, because of the gatherings that I attended.”
“It is important to be frank: this amounts to an allegation that I deliberately lied to Parliament.”
He said this allegation extended to “many others” who attended the same gatherings, but that most had given evidence indicating they did not consider their attendance against the rules.
The Privileges Committee says Johnson’s final written evidence did not arrive until 8.02am this morning because the original contained “a number of errors and typos”.
And it says: “Johnson’s written submission contains no new documentary evidence.”