Question time: five key Partygate points for Boris Johnson to address
After months of wrangling and years since the events in question took place, Boris Johnson will give his long-awaited evidence to parliament’s privileges committee on Wednesday. Here are five key questions he faces:
1) On 27 November 2020, Johnson attended and gave a speech at a gathering in the No 10 press office. According to witnesses, there was no social distancing and people were standing four to five deep. Did Johnson state, as is alleged, that it was “probably the most unsocially distanced gathering in the UK right now”?
2) On 1 December 2021, Johnson told the House of Commons that “all guidance was followed completely in No 10”. The following week, he told MPs he had been repeatedly assured there was “no party and that no Covid rules were broken”. How can that be true given what we know from photographic evidence?
3) Johnson is said by witnesses to have seen press office gatherings on his way to the No 10 flat, and to have occasionally joined these gatherings when his attendance had not been planned. The committee has confirmed that such a line of sight exists. Does he deny seeing these gatherings?
4) Despite Johnson’s repeated claim that he had been advised that no rules were broken, was this really his general view – or was it, as the committee has been told, an assertion taken primarily from a “line to take” developed by his director of communications?
5) Johnson denied to the House that rules had been broken, but evidence to the contrary was subsequently reported in the media. The former prime minister had plenty of opportunities to correct the official record had he felt it was necessary. Why didn’t he?