BORIS Johnson has admitted misleading MPs over Partygate, but the former prime minister says he did not do so "intentionally or recklessly."

In his written submission to the parliamentary inquiry probing his truthfulness, the ex Tory leader claims there is "not a single document that indicates" that he was told the events in Downing Street at the height of lockdown were against the rules.

He claimed the seven MPs on the cross-party committee were relying on “the assertions of the discredited Dominic Cummings.”


The Privileges Committee is examining evidence of at least four occasions when the ousted party boss assured the Commons that lockdown rules were followed.

Last year, the Metropolitan Police issued 126 fines to 83 people, including Mr Johnson and Rishi Sunak, for breaches of the pandemic laws. 

The dossier comes ahead of Mr Johnson's appearance before the committee tomorrow afternoon. 

Mr Sunak is already coming under pressure to remove the whip from his predecessor.

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One of the key events being scrutinised by the committee is an event in Downing Street on 13 November 2020.

When asked about it during Prime Minister's Questions on 8 December 2021, Mr Johnson said there was no party.

"I am sure that whatever happened, the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times," he said. 

A report by Sue Gray, the civil servant who investigated Downing Street gatherings and who is expected to take up a role as Labour leader's chief of staff, says that on this day there was: "a gathering, with food and alcohol, in the press office area to mark the departure of director of communications Lee Cain, where Mr Johnson gave a leaving speech."

In his 52-page submission to the committee, prepared with the help of Lord Pannick KC, whose legal fees are being paid by the government, Mr Johnson says that when he made the statements in the Commons, "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 December 1 2021, December 8 2021, or on any other date," he added. "I would never have dreamed of doing so.”

He added: “It is of course true that my statements to Parliament that the Rules and Guidance had been followed at all times did not turn out to be correct, and I take this opportunity to apologise to the House for that.

“As soon as the Sue Gray investigation and the Metropolitan Police investigation had been concluded, I corrected the record. I believed – and I still believe – that this was the earliest opportunity at which I could make the necessary correction.

“It was not fair or appropriate to give a half-baked account, before the facts had been fully and properly established, including into many events about which I had no personal knowledge.”

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The committee is set to determine whether Mr Johnson committed a so-called "contempt" of Parliament. If they do, they can then make a recommendation on any punishment.

However, the ultimate decision will fall to the full House of Commons.

Earlier this morning, Mr Sunak said it would be a free vote for his MPs. 

If he is suspended for 10 sitting days or more, his constituents could ultimately trigger a by-election in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat.

In an interim report published earlier this month, the committee said messages between No 10 staff meant it should have been obvious to Mr Johnson that Covid rules were being broken.

In his submission, Mr Johnson said there was "no evidence at all that supports an allegation that I intentionally or recklessly misled the House”.

“There is not a single document that indicates that I received any warning or advice that any event broke or may have broken the Rules or Guidance,” he said in his evidence to the Privileges Committee.

He added the Committee “appears to be mounting a case that, despite the absence of any evidence of warnings or advice, it should have been ‘obvious’ to me that the Rules and Guidance were not being followed, because of the gatherings that I attended.

“It is important to be frank: this amounts to an allegation that I deliberately lied to Parliament.

"But it is also an allegation that extends to many others. If it was “obvious” to me that the rules and guidance were not being followed, it would have been equally obvious to dozens of others who also attended the gatherings I did.

"The vast majority of individuals who have given evidence to the committee and the Cabinet Office investigation have not indicated that they considered that their attendance at the events contravened the rules or the guidance."

SNP Westminster Depute Leader Mhairi Black said Mr Johnson's admission that he misled parliament should be enough to see him stripped of the Tory whip.

She said: "It has taken more than a year, but Boris Johnson has finally admitted what we all knew already that he lied to parliament and he lied to the country.

"Boris Johnson has shown no humility whatsoever for the families who lost loved ones during the pandemic and made incredible sacrifices to protect everyone around them. At the same time, the former Prime Minister was partying away in Downing Street.

"He is the one who made the rules, but he thought he was above them.

"Rishi Sunak must remove the whip from Boris Johnson if the privileges committee finds him guilty of deliberately misleading parliament."