Boris Johnson, the former British Prime Minister, has resigned from his position in the House of Commons. The unexpected decision was made early on Saturday (June 10) India time (Friday evening in the UK), after Johnson saw the findings of a Parliamentary committee investigation into whether he misled the Commons on parties held in the Prime Minister’s official home-office while the country was under lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Johnson stated in a lengthy, vehement statement that the committee, the details of whose findings are unknown, was a “kangaroo court” focused on finding him “guilty, regardless of facts,” and that its chairperson, Labour MP Harriet Harman, was “egregiously[ly] biased[ed]” against him.
It is called the Commons Privileges Committee and it is comparable to the Lok Sabha’s Privileges Committee in the Indian Parliament. Seven people make up the committee, which is nonpartisan. Three of the members are from the opposition Labour Party, including Chairwoman Harman, two are from Johnson’s Conservative Party, and one is from the Scottish National Party (SNP).
The House of Commons passed a motion on April 21 of last year requesting that Johnson be subject to a committee investigation into whether or not he misled the House with his statements regarding the ‘Partygate’ scandal, which involved allegations of a breach of lockdown procedures at 10 Downing Street.
Beginning in the summer of 2022, the Committee began to solicit testimony and released an interim
According to reports in the British media, the Committee has most likely advised that Johnson be expelled from Parliament for a period longer than 10 days, which would result in him losing his seat and requiring a by-election. Johnson appears to have avoided that circumstance by resigning after viewing the report’s draught.
The committee has always followed the rules and the mandate of the House, and it will do so going forward, the committee spokesperson responded to Johnson’s claim.
“Mr. Johnson has violated House procedures and, through his statement, has called into question the House’s integrity.”
Johnson stated in his letter of resignation that the Privileges Committee had told him “that they are determined to use the proceedings against me to drive me out of Parliament”
Johnson has already acknowledged that he did mislead Parliament regarding the parties, but he has argued that he did not do so on purpose. Johnson had stated that he had provided the earlier assurances “in good faith” in a lengthy defence of his position that was published in March.
Johnson claimed in his statement from last Friday that despite the Committee knowing “perfectly well” that he had before informed Parliament only what he “sincerely believed to be true,” they continued to reject him.
He wrote: “They (the Committee) have still not produced a shred of evidence that I knowingly or recklessly misled the Commons.
“They know perfectly well that when I spoke in the Commons, I was saying what I believed sincerely to be true and what I had been briefed to say, like any other minister. They know that I corrected the record as soon as possible; and 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…
“I did not lie, and I believe that in their hearts, the Committee know it. But they have wilfully chosen to ignore the truth, because from the outset, their purpose has not been to discover the truth…
“Their purpose from the beginning has been to find me guilty, regardless of the facts.”