Former prime minister Boris Johnson “deliberately misled” Parliament and if he were still an MP should be suspended for 90 days, a report from the privileges committee has found.
The report says he also deliberately misled the committee itself, “impugned” the committee and was “complicit in the campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation of the committee”.
His statements to Parliament, over the so-called ‘Partygate’ scandal, which saw staff drinking in No10 while Covid lockdown restrictions were in place, amounted to “repeated” and “serious contempt” of the House, the Tory majority, cross-party committee has ruled.
The 90-day suspension would have taken him well-above the threshold for a by-election in his constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, had he not resigned in anticipation.
The report states: “There is no matter upon which the Committee has reported that Mr Johnson has not had the opportunity to answer or comment upon.”
In a 1,700 word response to the 30,000 word report, Johnson furiously hit back at the finding he deliberately misled the House, saying: “This is rubbish. It is a lie.”
He said: “This report is a charade. I was wrong to believe in the committee or its good faith.
“The terrible truth is that it is not I who has twisted the truth to suit my purposes. It is Harriet Harman and her committee. This is a dreadful day for MPs and for democracy.
“I do not have the slightest contempt for Parliament, or for the important work that should be done by the Privileges Committee.”
And he accused the committee of using “its prerogatives in this anti-democratic way” to carry out a “final knife-thrust in a protracted political assassination – that is beneath contempt.
“It is for the people of this country to decide who sits in Parliament, not Harriet Harman.”
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “This damning report should be the final nail in the coffin for Boris Johnson’s political career.
“It is completely unprecedented for a former prime minister to be found to have been a law-breaker and serial liar, who treated the public and Parliament with total disdain.”
Labour say they want Boris Johnson to pay back “every penny” of taxpayer money spent on the legal fees for his partygate defence.
Shadow House of Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire said: “The evidence in this report is damning and the conclusions the committee came to are clear. Boris Johnson is a lawbreaker and a liar.”
The report’s findings are set to be voted on by Parliament in the coming days.
Earlier in the week, Boris Johnson insisted “I’ll be back” in a report by the Daily Express, before the much-vaunted report’s publication. The verdict makes a political comeback much harder.
More to follow.