Johnson denies lying to parliament over ‘Partygate’ scandal

London, Mar 22 (EFE).- The former prime minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, on Wednesday denied lying to parliament about several parties held at Downing Street while the UK was under Covid-19 lockdown.

An investigation into what the UK media dubbed “Partygate” found a culture of illegal and sometimes drunken social gatherings had taken root in Downing Street when the rest of the country was forced to obey strict pandemic restrictions.

Johnson was among dozens of government officials – including current prime minister Rishi Sunak – who were fined by police for attending the gatherings, although he said he had only made brief appearances at what he said were work events.

The scandal led to Johnson being removed from office after a vote of no confidence in June.

“I’m here to say – hand on heart – that I did not lie to the House,” Johnson said during his statement to the House of Commons Privileges Committee, which is investigating whether the former PM deliberately misled the chamber about the parties.

“When those statements were made, they were made in good faith and on the basis of what I honestly knew and believed, at the time,” Johnson said.

“When this inquiry was set up, I was completely confident that you would find nothing to show I knew or believed anything else, as indeed you have not,” he continued.

“I was confident, not because there’s been some kind of cover up, I was confident because I knew that is what I believed. And that is why I said it.”

Johnson told the committee that it had found “nothing to show” that he was “warned in advance that events at No. 10 were illegal.”

He also accused the commission investigating him of not having made public evidence that, in his opinion, would exonerate him of the charges, which he considered “manifestly unfair”.

“As investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury, (the committee) has elected only to publish the evidence which it considers incriminating, and not the evidence which I rely on and which answer the charges,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s political future hinges on the conclusions reached by the committee. If it finds that he knowingly lied to MPs, it could recommend that he be barred from the House of Commons. EFE


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