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No evidence I deliberately misled UK MPs: Johnson

Boris Johnson says he accepts the United Kingdom House of Commons had been misled by his statements but maintains he did not deliberately lie to parliament.

March 22, 2023
22 March 2023

Former United Kingdom prime minister Boris Johnson has told a parliamentary inquiry there is no evidence he intentionally misled lawmakers about illegal parties held at his office during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Parliament’s Committee of Privileges has been investigating statements Johnson, who was ousted from Downing Street last September, made to parliament in December 2021.

It is considering whether he intentionally set out to mislead MPs about illegal gatherings that took place in Downing Street offices and residence, some of which he attended himself, when he said no rules were broken and COVID-19 guidance had been followed.

In his 52-page evidence document submitted to the committee, Johnson said he accepted the House of Commons had been misled by his statements but rejected the accusation he had deliberately lied to parliament.

“It is clear from that investigation that there is no evidence at all that supports an allegation that I intentionally or recklessly misled the House,” Johnson said.

“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.”

The committee is due to question the former leader in person when he provides oral evidence in a televised session on Wednesday.

At the centre of the inquiry are statements Johnson made to parliament in December 2021 about parties at Downing Street when coronavirus laws kept people at home and banned indoor gatherings.

In an interim report published earlier this month, MPs on the committee said Johnson may have misled parliament on four occasions and said the rule breaking should have been “obvious” to the former prime minister.

On its website the committee said Johnson’s written statement contained “no new documentary evidence”.

“The committee will consider carefully the further arguments made by Mr Johnson and respond to them in its final report,” it said.

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