Boris Johnson Is 'Generally An Honest Man', Says Close Ally
Boris Johnson speaks during the Global Soft Power Summit, at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London, last week.
Boris Johnson is “generally an honest man”, one of his close allies has insisted.
Chris Heaton-Harris, the Northern Ireland secretary, tried to mount a defence of the former prime minister as the partygate scandal returned to haunt the Tories.
The cross-party privileges committee published a report on Friday saying Johnson may have repeatedly misled parliament over what he knew about lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street during the pandemic.
But despite its damning findings, the ex-PM insisted that he has been “vindicated” by the report.
On the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show this morning, Heaton-Harris - who was chief whip when Johnson was in Number 10 - said he believed the former Tory leader had now “knowingly” misled MPs.
He said: “There are four occasions where Boris may have done that.
“I wouldn’t have become Boris’s chief whip if I didn’t believe him that he did not knowingly mislead parliament and I believe him to be an honest man - he did not knowingly mislead parliament.”
Heaton-Harris added: “He gave me chapter and verse that demonstrated to me that he did not knowingly mislead parliament.
“Generally he is an honest man and I truly believe that.”
"Generally, he’s an honest man”
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris says he does not believe Boris Johnson knowingly mislead parliament over Partygatehttps://t.co/rA3Ig0KbLm#BBCLauraKpic.twitter.com/k0uPsayNZJ
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) March 5, 2023
The cabinet minister had earlier told Sky News that he was “absolutely convinced” Johnson had not misled MPs.
The former prime minister is set to give evidence to the privileges committee later this month.
If he is found guilty of misleading parliament, he could be suspended from the Commons and potentially lose his seat.