‘Hand on heart … I did not lie to the House’: Boris Johnson over Partygate row amid looming suspension

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Image source: AP Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Partygate Row: Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted on Wednesday in a “hand to heart” that he never lied to MPs about government parties breaking the rules during the COVID-19 pandemic, making a strong defense at a hearing that could damage or end his political career.

The Standards Committee of the House of Commons questioned Johnson about misleading statements he made to parliament about multiple gatherings in government buildings that breached lockdown rules. If the committee concludes that he knowingly lied, he could face suspension or even lose his seat in the Commons.

“Hand on heart… I did not lie to the House”

Johnson told the committee after taking the oath on the Bible: “Hand on heart … I did not lie to the House.” “If anyone thinks I was partying during lockdown, they are completely wrong,” Johnson said during a session that displayed his characteristic qualities: confidence, rhetoric and – to critics – A loose relationship with facts.

If the House of Commons Committee of Privileges concludes that Johnson deliberately lied, it would end hopes of a return to power for the 58-year-old politician who led the Conservative Party to a landslide victory in 2019.

He was ousted from his own party in July 2022 after being embroiled in scandals over money, ethics and judgement.

What is Partygate controversy?

After the parties’ report came out in December 2021, Johnson repeatedly assured MPs that he and his staff had always followed the rules. It turned out to be wrong, Johnson admitted. But he added that it was “what I sincerely believed in at the time.”

He said, “I apologize for unknowingly misleading this House, but to say that I did it carelessly or intentionally is completely untrue.” In an interim report this month, the committee said the evidence strongly suggested it would have been “obvious” to Johnson that gatherings at his No 10, Downing Street offices in 2020 and 2021 flouted COVID-19 lockdown rules. Broke.

But Johnson said it never occurred to him that the events – which included a variety of cakes, wine, cheese and a “Secret Santa” festive gift exchange – broke the restrictions on socializing that his own government had imposed on the country. Imposed. He said he “sincerely believes” the five events he attended, which included a staffer and his own surprise birthday party, were “legitimate work gatherings” aimed at members of staff dealing with a deadly pandemic. It was to boost the morale of

He added that at the June 19, 2020 birthday celebration, no one sang “Happy Birthday” and that “the Union Jack cake remained in its Tupperware box, which I didn’t care about.” Johnson said “trusted advisers” assured him that neither the legally binding rules nor the government’s coronavirus guidance had been broken.

(with inputs from AP)

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