Boris Johnson’s Partygate Lies Have Brought Disgrace to his Office
The Prime Minister repeatedly lied to Parliament and the public about the lawbreaking that took place in his own house, reports Adam Bienkov
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Boris Johnson lied about the fact that illegal parties were held inside his own house during lockdown.
That is the unavoidable conclusion to be drawn from the news that police will issue 20 fines to individuals inside Johnson’s Government for breaking lockdown laws.
We do not know exactly who was found to have broken the law. Both the Metropolitan Police and Downing Street have refused to name the individuals concerned.
However, what we do know beyond all reasonable doubt is that the Prime Minister lied about it.
On multiple occasions, both inside and outside Parliament, Johnson explicitly denied that any parties had taken place inside his house, while insisting that all laws and guidelines had been followed by everybody inside Number 10.
When footage emerged of his former press secretary Allegra Stratton joking about the parties, Johnson then told the House of Commons that he was “furious” about the impression that anyone in Downing Street had broken the rules.
Later the Sue Gray report confirmed that the parties had taken place and that the Prime Minister had attended some of them. Now the Metropolitan Police have confirmed that the law was broken at these parties.
As a result, we now know that the Prime Minister lied. He didn’t tell mistruths or make mistaken statements. He lied and did so repeatedly.
What should happen next should not be a matter of debate. According to the Ministerial Code, which was personally signed off by the Prime Minister, any member of the Government who has knowingly misled Parliament is expected to resign. It is now overwhelmingly clear that Johnson did exactly that and should therefore resign.
However, what is also clear is that he has no intention of doing so.
Asked on Tuesday whether Johnson would correct any of his statements to the House of Commons or resign, his spokesman said that he would not because he “has at all times sought to set out clearly his understanding of events”.
As this statement illustrates, it is not just the Prime Minister who has been dishonest, but his own spokespeople too.
When first asked about the parties at the start of December last year, Johnson’s spokespeople repeatedly flatly denied any had taken place and continued to do so despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
Of course, most governments and their spin doctors sometimes say things that aren’t true. However, the sheer scale of the dishonesty in this scandal is without any modern comparison.
The relentless and unashamed nature of Johnson’s attempts to mislead Parliament, the press, and the public, should be as much of a scandal as the actual lawbreaking itself.
The fact that the Prime Minister will not now even admit to his own dishonesty, let alone apologise for it, only compounds the disgrace he has already bought to his office.