People are ‘sickened’ by Boris Johnson’s partygate lies

Boris Johnson toasts a party in Downing Street during Covid lockdown in partygate scandal
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Former prime minister Boris Johnson admitted on 21 March that he misled parliament by telling MPs that parties at his Downing Street office did not break Covid lockdown rules. He claimed, however, that he did so in “good faith”. The revelation to the contrary comes from evidence submitted to a parliamentary committee probing the partygate scandal.

‘Made in good faith’

Police previously fined Johnson for breaking the rules he set for the public. The MP initially insisted that the gatherings were above-board, but has since offered an apology for his presence at the party, for which the police fined him. However, as BBC News highlighted, there were at least eight events Johnson attended that the public know about.

Johnson is due to go before a cross-party Privileges Committee of MPs on 22 March. The committee will probe his 52-page statement to determine whether Johnson was in contempt of parliament. The Privileges Committee shared the full document, in which Johnson said:

I accept that the House of Commons was misled by my statements that the rules and guidance had been followed completely at No. 10

But when the statements were made, they were made in good faith and on the basis of what I honestly knew and believed at the time.

He also claimed that there’s “no evidence” that showed he “intentionally or recklessly misled” the House of Commons.

If the Privileges Committee decide on 22 March that Johnson was in contempt, MPs will get a vote on what sanction he could face. This may include a suspension. Any suspension over 10 sitting days could trigger a by-election in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat.

Read on...

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Johnson lied, thousands died

Johnson’s descent into the mire of technicalities for his defence may fool some in parliament, but few in the public are falling for it. Many people recognise that, regardless of the MP’s claims, he was partying while a majority of the public were following Tory guidelines – trying to keep one another safe:

Echoing these sentiments, campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK described Johnson’s self-serving “good faith” partygate claim as “sickening”:

The group went on to voice how Johnson’s two-faced behaviour is “disrespect” that it’ll “never forgive”.

Partygate was someone else’s fault

It isn’t only his claims of “good faith” that show Johnson’s attempts to minimise his responsibility, though. The Guardian shared an excerpt from the statement in which Johnson appears to throw his former communications director under the bus.

In it, Johnson said that his communications director Jack Doyle told him that one party he attended “was within the rules”. And as journalist Lewis Goodall pointed out, Johnson repeatedly rolled over on others to save himself:

Johnson even doubled down in paragraph 100 of his statement, saying:

I have never received any warning before any event that anyone had concerns that an event might break the Rules or Guidance.

Of course, relying on this technicality for his partygte defence isn’t the defence Johnson claims it is. As cross-party group Best for Britain highlighted, Johnson’s own legislative affairs director said the MP “went row by row” through lockdown legislation:

And, more bluntly, he was at the time the prime minister. It was literally his job to know the rules, whatever they are, as another Twitter user pointed out:

His actions cannot be undone

In the end, the outcome of the Privileges Committee panel almost doesn’t matter. The worst that Johnson faces is the loss of his position as an MP. Meanwhile, the widespread harm his actions and partygate have caused cannot be undone.

More than 220,000 people in the UK have died due to Covid-related issues to date. More will have died as an indirect result of the government’s response to the pandemic. Every one of those was part of a relationship, family, friendship group, or community, with their loss causing immeasurable impact. And Covid hasn’t disappeared – that number will continue growing.

Now, rather than taking responsibility and letting himself be held accountable, Johnson is still weaving paper-thin excuses to defend himself. And, in doing so, he’s once again spitting in the faces of the public and laughing.

Featured image via ITV News/YouTube

Additional reporting via Agence France-Presse

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