At 9.00 am today the privileges committee released its report with its findings on whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament over “partygate” while he was in office.
The long-awaited report is around 30,000 words and 108 pages long and comes after a 14-month investigation by the cross-party committee of MPs.
The investigation finds that Boris Johnson did mislead parliament over Partygate, and it recommended that Mr Johnson was suspended from the House for over 90 days “for repeated contempts and for seeking to undermine the parliamentary process”.
The committee says that in making such remarks Johnson was “undermining the democratic process of the house”. The report also finds Mr Johnson was “complicit in the campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation of the Committee”.
It adds: “We recommend that he should not be entitled to a former Member’s pass”.
The former PM announced his decision to quit as an MP on Friday last week after receiving the committee’s verdict.
His resignation from the House of Commons means Mr Johnson will not serve the suspension recommended by the committee, which will now be subjected to a vote of MPs.
Boris Johnson dedicated a large part of his resignation statement on Friday to railing against the committee’s work, labelling the group a “kangaroo court” and accusing it of a “witch hunt”.
The report’s publication also came as the former PM launched a last-ditch attempt last night to undermine the committee’s report, calling on senior Conservative MP and former Johnson ally Sir Bernard Jenkin to resign from group.
The former PM said Sir Bernard must “explain his actions” after website Guido Fawkes claimed he had also broken lockdown rules by attending a drinks reception for his wife’s birthday in December 2020.
Mr Johnson said in a statement: “Bernard Jenkin has just voted to expel me from parliament for allegedly trying to conceal from parliament my knowledge of illicit events.
“Now it turns out he may have for the whole time known that he himself attended an event – and concealed this from the privileges committee and the whole House for the last year”.
Commenting ahead of the report’s publication, senior Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood said it seems unlikely Boris Johnson will “win the argument” by saying “late in the day” that Sir Bernard must resign.
Mr Ellwood told Sky News: “If Boris Johnson is unhappy with the committee’s findings, or indeed anybody on the committee, the personalities and so forth, he could easily have made a personal statement in the Commons, that’s the process, and presented his arguments prior to a full vote from the House, because it will be for the House to determine whether they support this publication or not.
“He’s chosen to abandon all those possible avenues of approach and quit parliament in its entirety”, he added.
Likewise, former justice secretary Sir Robert Buckland said it “does feel” like the end of a chapter as MPs awaited the publication of the privileges committee report. He told Sky News: “It’s not about did he go to a party or not – it’s about his relationship with parliament, and that’s why today is an important moment”.
Asked about the allegations of lockdown rule breaking against Sir Bernard, Sir Robert said the committee member’s “social life” is not “relevant in any way”.
Labour has called on Boris Johnson to “take some responsibility” for his behaviour during Partygate.
James Murray, shadow financial secretary to the Treasury, described the row over the privileges committee and Mr Johnson’s controversial resignation honours list as a “never-ending Tory soap opera”.
Meanwhile, prime minister Rishi Sunak avoided questions on Thursday morning about the privileges committee report.
Asked if he believed if Mr Johnson should be allowed to be an MP, the prime minister said: “These are matters for the House of Commons, and parliament will deal with it in the way that it does.”
Yesterday it was confirmed that the by-election for Boris Johnson’s former constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip will take place between 21 and 27 working days from the issuing of the writ, the government has confirmed.
The timing indicates that the by-election for Uxbridge and South Ruislip would take place between 13 and 21 July, as such elections are held on Thursdays.