Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted that he “misled” the parliament on the rule-breaking government parties during the Covid-19 pandemic at Downing Street, but did so in “good faith”. The former PM’s written defence in response to an influential parliamentary committee was published on Tuesday, reported PTI.
Johnson made the written submission — ahead of his oral evidence to the House of Commons Privileges due this week — in which he criticised the panel for going “significantly beyond its terms of reference”.
The 58-year-old Tory MP also tried to discredit the cross-party committee’s interim report describing it as “highly partisan”.
“I accept that the House of Commons was misled by my statements that the Rules and Guidance had been followed completely at No. 10,” reads his evidence.
“But when the statements were made, they were made in good faith and on the basis of what I honestly knew and believed at the time. I did not intentionally or recklessly mislead the House on 1 December 2021, 8 December 2021, or on any other date. I would never have dreamed of doing so,” he said.
The former British PM, whose exit from 10 Downing Street last year had been hastened by the partygate scandal, had repeatedly denied Covid lockdown rules were broken within government quarters when asked in the Commons.
Referring to a specific reference to a surprise birthday party for him in June 2020, Johnson expressed shock at having been handed a fine for it after a Metropolitan Police investigation because no cake was eaten.
“I was in the Cabinet Room for a work meeting and was joined by a small gathering of people, all of whom lived or were working in the building. We had a sandwich lunch together and they wished me Happy Birthday. I was not told in advance that this would happen. No cake was eaten, and no-one even sang ‘happy birthday’. The primary topic of conversation was the response to Covid-19,” he writes.
The Parliamentary Committee however hit back saying his submission contained “no new evidence” in his defence.
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK group also berated Johson. Taking to Twitter the group said it is “sickening” that Johnson claimed he acted in “good faith” while accepting he misled the House of Commons over partygate.