Date set for Boris Johnson’s grilling over whether he lied to MPs over partygate
Boris Johnson has agreed to face a televised questioning on whether he lied to MPs over partygate next Wednesday.
The former prime minister will appear before the cross-party Commons Privileges Committee at 2pm on March 22 for the hearing that will determine his political future.
The cross-party committee confirmed the time and date for the Conservative MP’s oral evidence on Tuesday.
Rishi Sunak has committed to giving Tories the freedom to determine Mr Johnson’s fate with their conscience.
If the committee rules Mr Johnson deliberately misled the Commons, they could recommend a suspension that may ultimately lead to a by-election for Mr Johnson in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency.
Speaking to ITV News during a visit to San Diego, Mr Sunak insisted he would not try to exert influence over Conservatives on the committee not to impose a large punishment.
“That wouldn’t be right,” Mr Sunak said.
And asked if he was concerned that a suspension of more than 10 days could trigger a by-election, Mr Sunak added: “This is a matter for Parliament, for the House.
“It’s not right for the Government to get involved.”
In an interim report, the Privileges Committee chaired by Labour grandee Harriet Harman said the evidence strongly suggests breaches of coronavirus rules would have been “obvious” to Mr Johnson during the partygate saga.
They are examining at least four occasions when he may have deliberately misled MPs with his denials.
But Mr Johnson, who was fined by the Metropolitan Police for breaching his own Covid laws, has denied lying to the House and says he expects to be cleared.
The committee will publish its findings and make a recommendation on any punishment, but it will ultimately fall to the full House of Commons to decide whether to approve any decision over Mr Johnson’s fate.