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Johnson is defiant before the parliamentary committee investigating the 'partygate'


The former British Prime Minister reassures, "with his hand on his heart", that he did not lie to Parliament, but describes the questions from the deputies as "complete nonsense"

Boris Johnson would have preferred this Wednesday, against his natural instinct, not to be the center of attention.

The most dominating British politician on the scene in recent decades has been unable to hide his irritation as the seven MPs who make up the House of Commons Committee on Privileges hemmed in with questioning him.

His mission was to determine whether the former prime minister concealed from Parliament, “deliberately or recklessly”, the truth about parties banned from Downing Street during lockdown.

“I am here to tell you, hand on heart, that I did not lie to the House [of Commons].

When I made those statements, I did so in good faith, and based on what I honestly knew and believed during that time," Johnson assured before swearing before "Almighty God," with his hand on the Bible, that he was willing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth before the committee.

Behind the former prime minister could be seen David Pannick, the prestigious lawyer who has prepared his defense, and who has already received a provision of funds of about 250,000 euros from the Government.

But the truth, in Johnson's hands, takes on an astonishing elasticity.

And the story that he has told himself about those fateful days clashes head-on with the perception of British citizens regarding the


scandal .

Johnson has recounted the intense work that he and his team faced at that time, and has assured the committee members that they tried at all times to comply with the social distancing regulations imposed during the pandemic, despite the fact that number 10 Downing Street is "a cramped, narrow eighteenth-century residence."

Johnson has used a two-pronged strategy that has only partially worked.

His appearance has been broadcast live by British television.

Three hours of purgatory in which the politician was aware that his future was at stake.

If the committee decided to suspend him from his position as deputy for ten or more days, he would almost certainly lose his seat.

A candidate replacement process would be activated in his constituency.

On the one hand, the former prime minister wanted to ridicule the idea that the events reflected in the photographs published by the media were actually a party.

“I know that the public opinion has bought into the idea that they were photos obtained in a hidden way, obtained by the press and sinisterly pixelated.

Most of them, however, were taken by the official Downing Street photographer”, explained Johnson, who nevertheless admitted that they could give the impression that they were “doing something that other citizens could not do”.

Before a committee that sometimes did not believe his words, but that has not been able to coax a clear self-incriminating statement from Johnson either, the former prime minister justified the tables full of drinks on the need to "keep the ship's course firm." ” and give encouragement to the team every time a small farewell party was given to someone.

“If in those press conferences in which the sign on his lectern said 'hands, face, space' [wash your hands, wear a mask, maintain social distance] they had asked you if companies could break the distancing rules to have parties Farewell, what would you have said?" Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin asked the former prime minister.

“If the recommendations could not be met perfectly, they were entitled to mitigation.

“Flimsy” recommendations from advisers

Johnson was beginning to lose his train of reasoning, and his patience, as deputies questioned his main line of defense.

Time and time again, he had told them, he was "assured" by his advisers that the recommendations issued during the lockdown were being followed in Downing Street.

Those recommendations, the committee chairwoman, Harriet Harman, had suggested, were “a bit flimsy” as a line of defence.

"If I'm going 100 miles an hour, and the speedometer says I'm going 100 miles an hour, it would be a little weird to defend yourself by saying 'someone told me that wasn't the speed,' right?" Harman told Johnson. .

Curiously, it was not the chair of the committee, whom the former prime minister has accused of being biased for the tweets he published against him at the beginning of the investigation, who managed to drive Johnson out of his mind.

The Conservative Jenkin brought to light the apparent nonsense of the explanations of his party mate: “If I were accused of breaking the law and had to deny it in the House of Commons, I would seek the advice of a lawyer.

I would seek the advice of someone competent and independent ”, he reproached Johnson, at the former prime minister's insistence that what his political advisers told him was enough.

“This is all nonsense.

Complete nonsense.

I consulted the most relevant people, and they all held high positions,” Johnson replied, visibly irritated.

However, the politician has tried to put some distance between himself and all his allies who, in the days prior to the appearance, had defined the committee as a rigged court (

kangaroo court

, in the English expression).

The questioning of the Committee on Privileges has irritated the


(president) of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, and many deputies.

Also conservative.

Alberto Costa (Scottish, of Italian parents) and Charles Walker, two of the four


who are part of the committee, demanded that Johnson distance himself from those statements that diminished the legitimacy of the parliamentary body.

"Nobody should intimidate or put pressure on a colleague", the former prime minister limited himself to pointing out, who affirmed, however, that the "legitimacy of this committee will be judged by the citizens themselves, according to the evidence they are capable of contribute".

Until the last minute, Johnson has insisted that there was not the slightest proof that he deliberately lied to Parliament about



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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-03-23

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