BORIS Johnson is set to launch a last-ditch defence of his Partygate claims ahead of a bruising session in the commons. 

The former prime minister will spend between four and five hours giving evidence to the parliamentary inquiry tasked with looking at whether or not he misled MPs when he told them there was no breaking of the Covid rules in No 10. 


He is reportedly set to submit a 50-page dossier of evidence to the privileges committee on Monday including a number of texts and WhatsApps. 

If the committee finds him in contempt of parliament, he could face a suspension from the Commons. If it’s more than ten days his constituents in Uxbridge and South Ruislip would be able to trigger a recall election. 

In their interim report, the Commons committee has already made it clear that the rule-breaking should have been “obvious.”

That report included a WhatsApp message on January 25, 2022 from Jack Doyle, then No 10 director of communications, who, when asked about one of the events, stated: “I’m struggling to come up with a way this one is in the rules in my head.”

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According to his supporters, the messages to be published by the ex-Tory leader will show that he was relying upon the advice of officials when he made his statements to parliament.

He is also set to publish messages which show that other senior figures working in Downing Street also believed the gatherings were not breaking the rules because there was a “workplace exemption”.

A source familiar with Mr Johnson’s defence told the Sunday Times: “The messages will show in black and white that what Johnson told parliament was what he had been advised to say by officials and his No 10 team. The argument will be that it was reasonable for him to rest upon those assurances.

“Boris was not present at the vast majority of the gatherings and so there was a limit to what he knew about, and he was forced to rely upon the advice he received. What we are trying to show is that he said what he believed and was told at the time.”

A source close to Johnson told the paper: “It’s clear the committee has been picking and choosing the evidence it decides to release and has only published a fraction of the material in their possession. We believe that when all the evidence is looked at in the round, it will present a picture that is very favourable towards Boris.”

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Mr Johnson is also set to question the committee’s integrity, particularly over their reliance on the report compiled by Sue Gray. 

The senior civil servant who was tasked with investigating the 16 gatherings has since been in talks with Sir Keir Starmer to become his chief of staff. 

Mr Johnson will face the committee on Wednesday, where he’ll be asked about his statements to the Commons. 

Most of the MPs on the committee are Tories, Alberto Costa, Bernard Jenkin, Andy Carter and Sir Charles Walker. Labour has two spots, held by Yvonne Fovargue and Harriet Harman, who is chairing the inquiry. 

The SNP’s Allan Dorans, a former Met Police detective, is also on the committee.