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File image of Boris Johnson. Alamy Stock Photo
Privileges Committee

Boris Johnson urges Privileges Committee to publish ‘nonsense’ report on Partygate

The panel earlier said the former prime minister had made last-minute representations ahead of the release of its report.

FORMER BRITISH PRIME minister Boris Johnson has urged the UK’s Commons Privileges Committee to publish its report on whether he lied to Parliament over partygate and “let the world judge their nonsense”.

In a statement today, Johnson lashed out at the panel’s “absurdly unfair rules” which he said prevented him from criticising its findings and vowed to make his “views clear” when the findings are released.

It came after the committee said Johnson had made last-minute representations ahead of the release of its report, which is expected to find that he deliberately misled MPs with his assurances that lockdown rules were followed in Downing Street.

The committee said it was “dealing with” submissions received from the former PM at 11.57pm last night.

The publication of its findings had already been pushed back towards the end of this week, reportedly due to printing problems in Parliament, before Johnson’s 11th-hour representations.

In response, Johnson said: “The Privileges Committee should publish their report and let the world judge their nonsense.

“They have no excuse for delay.

“Their absurdly unfair rules do not even allow any criticism of their findings.

“I have made my views clear to the committee in writing – and will do so more widely when they finally publish.”

Johnson previously attacked the seven-person committee, which is chaired by veteran Labour MP Harriet Harman but has a Conservative majority, as a “kangaroo court” when he announced his Commons exit on Friday after receiving a draft of its findings.

A Privileges Committee spokesman said today: “A letter enclosing further representations from Johnson was received by the committee at 11.57pm last night.

“The committee is dealing with these and will report promptly.”

The MPs on the panel have rejected Johnson’s defence that senior officials advised him Covid rules and guidance had been followed in No 10, according to the Times.

A senior aide in fact warned him against claiming to the Commons that social distancing guidelines were observed, the newspaper reported.

Following his shock resignation, Johnson launched into a public spat with one-time ally and current prime minister Rishi Sunak over his resignation honours list.

Sunak suggested his former boss wanted him to ignore the recommendations of the House of Lords Appointments Commission (Holac).

Johnson’s camp accused him of having “secretly blocked” the peerages of former culture secretary Nadine Dorries and other allies in his resignation list.

The former prime minister released a statement saying: “Rishi Sunak is talking rubbish.

“To honour these peerages it was not necessary to overrule Holac – but simply to ask them to renew their vetting, which was a mere formality.”

One Downing Street source said the Cabinet Office had made it clear to Johnson that there is no re-vetting process, while Sunak’s spokesman said it is “entirely untrue to say that anyone from No 10 attempted to remove or change” the list.

Despite the expected findings of the Privileges Committee this week, Johnson insisted “I’ll be back”, quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator.

In the Daily Express, Johnson said “We must fully deliver on Brexit and on the 2019 manifesto. We must smash Labour at the next election.

“Nothing less than absolute victory and total Brexit will do – and as the great Arnold Schwarzenegger said, I’ll be back.”

The message echoed Johnson’s sign-off during his final appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions last year, when he told MPs “Hasta la vista, baby” – the catchphrase of Schwarzenegger’s cyborg character in the 1991 movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

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