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Great Britain. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson questioned under oath over Partygate party organization

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Boris Johnson testified under oath before a House of Commons committee on the “Partygate” affair. He said he “hand on heart” said he had never lied about parties at the prime minister’s official residence and that he had been misled by his advisers.

Former Prime Minister of Great Britain Boris Johnson testifying under oath before the House of Commons Committee on Privileges on Wednesday, he denied having lied about “Partygate” parties held at the prime minister’s Downing Street residence during the pandemic restrictions COVID-19when the organization of such events was banned in Great Britain.

Boris Johnson has said he has “hand on heart” said he has never lied about events at the prime minister’s official residence.

“If anyone thinks I was partying during the lockdown, they’re completely wrong,” the former prime minister said, criticizing the parliamentary committee questioning him, which he said acts as “investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury”.

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During the three-hour questioning, Johnson stuck to his version of events, despite the fact that the commission presented photos of Downing Street parties, witness statements and earlier statements by the former prime minister himself, which showed that he presented conflicting versions of events about the circumstances of the events. during covid restrictions.

Johnson: It wasn’t a party

Mr Johnson apologized to the House of Commons for “inadvertently” misleading MPs about the illegal parties, but said that when he claimed the party was not illegal, he “truly believed it” because he had been misled by his advisers.

The former British prime minister added that he did not consider the meeting on June 19, 2020, on his birthday, a “party” because no one sang “happy birthday” and the birthday cake was hidden in a box, so he did not notice it.


Commenting on a photo from one of the events, Johnson said: “I realize that people looking at this photo will think it was a social event (…). It wasn’t a social event. It wasn’t a party, his words were reported by the agencies.

Downing Street party investigation

A House of Commons committee found in a 110-page report released earlier on Wednesday that Johnson, as prime minister, had misled Parliament four times by giving explanations about events taking place in Downing Street during the Covid lockdown.

10 Downing Street. Office of the British Prime MinisterShutterstock

She also considered that “the evidence strongly suggests that breaches of the guidelines were obvious to Mr Johnson at the time he attended these assemblies. There is evidence that those who advised Mr Johnson what to say to the press and in the House (Commons) had themselves problem with arguing that some assemblies followed the rules.”

The Privileges Committee is investigating more than a dozen Downing Street parties when very strict coronavirus restrictions barred UK residents from leaving their homes and socializing. The chair of the committee, Harriet Harman, stressed during Wednesday’s hearing that British democracy “is based on the certainty that what ministers tell MPs is the truth”.

In statements Johnson made after the scandal broke, he maintained that the rules applicable during the pandemic were not broken and sanitary guidelines were respected.

The media leaks from autumn 2021 on the events organized in Downing Street during the COVID-19 pandemic meant that Johnson began to lose the support of his own Conservative Party MPs and, as a result, resigned last year.

Johnson’s political career in jeopardy

Knowingly misleading Parliament is a very serious offense in the UK and a member of the government found guilty of this is expected to resign.

Although Johnson already left the post of prime minister in September 2022, if the committee’s final report concludes that he has knowingly misled parliament, he may be suspended for 10 days, which in turn is grounds for filing a petition in his constituency to remove him from office.

Johnson headed the British government from July 2019 to September 2022. According to the British media, his defense, undertaken by David Pannick, one of the most famous British barristers, cost taxpayers over £220,000.

Main photo source: NEIL HALL/PAP/EPA

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