The Privileges Committee has released photos of gatherings as part of its report on whether Boris Johnson lied to Parliament.
Boris Johnson may have misled Parliament on multiple occasions over whether lockdown rules were broken at Downing Street, MPs have found.
If found guilty, the former PM could be suspended or expelled from the House of Commons and even trigger a by-election in his seat.
In a scathing report released on Friday, the Commons Privileges Committee said Staff No. 10’s violations would have been “obvious” to Johnson.
“There is evidence that the House of Commons may have been misled,” said MPs, citing four separate occasions.
Johnson is scheduled to defend himself personally before the committee later this month.
The committee is not investigating whether or not rules were broken, police have already concluded that they were, but specifically whether Johnson lied to Parliament about it.
As Prime Minister, Johnson repeatedly told the Commons that no Covid rules had been broken at No 10. However, he was later fined by police for attending a birthday party thrown for him in the cabinet room.
MPs said: “The evidence strongly suggests that policy violations would have been apparent to Johnson by the time he was at the meetings.
“There is evidence that those advising Johnson on what to say to the press and in the House struggled themselves to claim that some gatherings followed the rules.”
The 24-page report went on to say: “It appears Mr Johnson failed to correct the statements he has repeatedly made and failed to use established House procedures to correct anything that is false at the earliest opportunity.” correct.”
The committee also said there was evidence that “a culture of drinking in the workplace continued in some parts of No 10” “after the Covid restrictions began”.
One of the images in the Privileges Committee report
Today’s report is not the committee’s final conclusion, but if it decides that Johnson misled Parliament, it can recommend penalties such as suspension or expulsion from the House of Commons, which MPs would then have to vote on.
Angela Rayner, Labor Deputy Leader, said: “The evidence in this report is absolutely damning for the conduct of Boris Johnson, not only in the crime but in the cover-up.
“All this time, Rishi Sunak was sitting on his hands, living and working next door, but doing nothing to stop the rule-breaking.”
Rayner said that if Johnson is found to have misled Parliament, Sunak will have to make it clear that “his career is over”.
In response, Johnson insisted that his version of events was “confirmed” by the report.
He then turned his fire on Sue Gray, the senior civil servant who published her own damning report in partygate and is set to become Keir Starmer’s chief of staff.
Johnson said: “I note that the committee has emphasized its desire to be fair.
“They have referred to a figure they coyly describe as ‘the second permanent secretary of the Cabinet Office’ on fewer than 26 occasions. That’s Sue Gray, of course.
“It is therefore surreal to discover that the committee is proposing to rely on evidence collected and orchestrated by Sue Gray, who has just been appointed chief of staff to the Labor Party leader.”
However, the committee, which has a Tory majority, replied: “The committee’s report is not based on Sue Gray’s report.
“The Committee’s report is based on evidence in the form of material provided by the Government to the Committee in November, including communications such as WhatsApps, emails and photographs by the official Downing Street photographer; Evidence from witnesses present either at the time of the gatherings or at the time of the preparation of Boris Johnson’s statements to Parliament.
“Sue Gray was not present at either of these and is not one of those witnesses.”