MPs looking into Boris Johnson’s conduct during the “partygate” scandal warned on Friday that evidence “strongly” suggested that breaches of coronavirus guidance would have been “obvious” to the then-prime minister and his aides.
The cross-party privileges committee is examining whether Johnson knowingly misled the House of Commons in his account of the scandal, which centred on illegal gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
Johnson is expected to provide oral evidence later this month.
In a report published on Friday, the MPs noted that the Commons “may have been misled” on a handful of occasions such as on December 8 2021 when Johnson told parliamentarians that he “relied upon repeated assurances that the rules had not been broken”.
“The evidence strongly suggests that breaches of guidance would have been obvious to Mr Johnson at the time he was at the gatherings,” the MPs wrote. “There is evidence that those who were advising Mr Johnson about what to say to the press and in the House were themselves struggling to contend that some gatherings were within the rules.”
The committee, which began its investigation in June 2022, will produce its final conclusions following Johnson’s oral evidence, the MPs added.