MICHAEL Gove has criticised a Commons committee recommendation that Boris Johnson should have been suspended from parliament for 90 days.

The Levelling Up Secretary said this morning he would abstain on the privileges committee tomorrow as he dodged a question on whether Rishi Sunak would take part in the vote.

Johnson quit as an MP after being given a copy of the report days ahead of its publication last Wednesday describing the committee set up to probe his conduct as a "kangaroo court".

MPs on the committee found that Johnson deliberately misled the the Commons over partygate committing multiple contempts of parliament publishing their report last Wednesday.

READ MORE: Michael Gove describes Tory partygate video as 'terrible'

They also found the former PM in contempt for “breaching confidence” by effectively making public the committee’s verdict the previous Friday, for “impugning the committee”, and for “being complicit in the campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation of the committee”.

Appearing on the BBC's Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Gove was asked if he agreed with the privileges committee that Johnson lied.

"The privileges committee report is pretty clear. But I think there are several things to say here," said Gove.

The Herald:

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack with former PM Boris Johnson in September 2020. Photo PA.

The first is that it is Boris's sincere belief that he was assured that the rules were followed. I would invite everyone to read the privileges committee report. 

READ MORE: Boris Johnson guilty of deliberately and repeatedly misleading MPs

"It draws some important distinctions between Boris's belief, the way in which he sought to assure himself on the facts, and then the views and indeed the testimony of others."

Pressed if he would endorse the report by voting for it, Gove added: "I've read the whole report. There are parts of it that I think are excellent work. I don't agree with the conclusion. 

"Personally, I think that the the final conclusion the decision to impose a 90 day penalty is not merited by the evidence of the committee's report. I will not vote I will abstain."

Asked what the Prime Minister will do, he said: "I don't know but I think it's critically important each individual member of the House of Commons forms their own judgement. So I would not wish to influence anyone else. 

"My own judgement is the committee have done good work. It is a good report. There are clear areas where the actions of Boris Johnson as a prime minister, fall short of what should have been expected, no doubt about that. And it is appropriate that he faces criticism, he has already forfeited his job as prime minister and left the House of Commons by his own volition."

If the report is not opposed in tomorrow's vote then it could just be nodded through the Commons, saving Sunak from having to chose between riling Johnson by backing it, voting against the report and risking public anger, or avoiding the action altogether and facing allegations of being weak.

READ MORE: How damning report could trash Boris Johnson's place in history

The sanctions proposed by the Tory-majority committee are expected to pass regardless, with only a relatively small group of Johnson loyalists expected to oppose the report’s findings.

Mr Johnson was privately urging his supporters not to oppose it, arguing the sanctions have no practical effect.

He hopes to make a political comeback and a return to the Commons.

However, it is unclear if or when that could happen with Sunak unlikely to approve Johnson's candidancy as a Tory Westminster hopeful and many voters across the UK regarding the former PM as a discredited politician.