Mick the Ram
9 months ago

Mick the Ram
9 months ago

Boris Johnson quits as an MP in the face of on-going “party-gate” scandal

Former Prime Minster Boris Johnson has announced that he is standing down as an MP, with immediate effect after claiming that he is being driven out by what he described as a “witch hunt” and a “kangaroo court”.

It follows his receipt of a report from the MP-led Privileges Committee into whether he misled Parliament over lockdown parties at Downing Street at the height of the Covid crisis. It was that scandal that led to Mr Johnson stepping down as PM in 2022, following a mass revolt by ministers over his leadership.

Mr Johnson had 14 days to respond, but made his decision to go within 24 hours of being given sight of the report, which effectively is a “warning letter”, setting out criticisms it intends to make, backed by whatever evidence it has to support it.

In a long and scathing statement, Mr Johnson pulled no punches. Amongst other things, he insisted he had not lied, and accused the committee of having not a shred of evidence, but had instead wilfully chosen to ignore the truth.

He apologised to his constituency, calling it an honour to serve them as both Mayor and MP, and also reiterated his pride in all he achieved in his time as PM.

Jump before being pushed

All this comes just under four years since he led the Conservatives to an 80-seat majority, which was the party’s best result in 30 years. The actual detail of the report remains closely guarded, but judging by what Mr Johnson implied in his response, it seems likely that he was told that they would be recommending he was suspended for 10 or more sitting days.

With that in mind and reading between the lines, it seems Boris may well have seen it as having to jump before he was pushed, although any recommendations would still need to pass a vote by MP’s before it was actioned.

Believed working lawfully the same as current PM

Some of the points Mr Johnson raised in his statement made interesting reading. He was quick to make the point that the Commons, were aware that what he said, he sincerely believed to be true and also is what he had been briefed to say, just like any other minister. “They know that I and every other senior official and minister – including the current Prime Minister and then occupant of the same building, Rishi Sunak – believed that we were working lawfully together.”

He continued to be forceful in his opinion that the committee’s purpose from the beginning had been to find him guilty, regardless of the facts, making the observation that most members and especially the chairman, had already expressed deeply prejudicial remarks about his “guilt” before they had even seen the evidence.

Belief in system misplaced

He accepted that he probably had been naïve and too trusting in thinking that the proceedings could be remotely fair, but said he was determined to believe in the system and in justice, to vindicate what he knew to be the truth.

That belief was he said, the same faith in the impartiality of systems which led to him commissioning Sue Gray to investigate the controversial gatherings at Number 10 Downing Street, but he now recognised that was a mistake on his behalf, as it has since become clear that Ms Gray was very much in the Labour camp. She is now the chief of staff designate of Sir Kier Starmer.

He highlighted that his removal is the necessary first step to try and reach a point where it might be possible to reverse Brexit, and was strongly of the opinion that there was a concerted attempt to bring it about.

Dangerous precedent being set

Mr Johnson, obviously angry about how circumstances have led to the current situation, went on to say: “I am now being forced out of Parliament by a tiny handful of people, with no evidence to back up their assertions, and without the approval even of Conservative party members, let alone the wider electorate. I believe that a dangerous and unsettling precedent is being set.”

He again turned his attention to the Committee’s report and stated that it was riddled with inaccuracies and reeked of prejudice. However, he had to concede that under what he called their “absurd and unjust process” he had no formal ability to challenge anything that they said.

Pride in achievements

He ended his statement explaining that he had written to his Association in Uxbridge and South Ruislip to tell them that he would be stepping down and as a consequence, triggering an immediate by-election. He spoke of his pride in representing them and mentioned amongst other things how pleased he was to have helped deliver the new railway in the Elizabeth Line through London.

Never, say never

He closed with a stinging attack, saying: “I am bewildered and appalled that I can be forced out, anti-democratically, by a committee chaired and managed, by Harriet Harman, with such egregious bias.”

His final remarks also contained an interesting line when he said how very sad he was to be leaving Parliament, but countered it with four very interesting words… “at least for now”. So we may not have seen the last of Boris – it is a case of watch this space.

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