Boris Johnson resigned from the UK parliament before the release of a report that would say that he had violated norms by lying to the House of Commons. Such an action would trigger a 90-day suspension and Johnson clearly did not want to face that ignominy so he quit.
Boris Johnson deliberately misled parliament over Partygate and was part of a campaign to abuse and intimidate MPs investigating him, a long-awaited report by the privileges committee has found.
In an unprecedented move, the cross-party group said he “closed his mind to the truth” and would have faced a 90-day suspension from the Commons had he not quit in rage at its conclusions last week.
Johnson was also found to have knowingly misled the committee itself, breached Commons rules by partially leaking its findings last Friday, and undermined the democratic processes of parliament.
As a result, it was recommended Johnson be banned from getting the pass granted to ex-MPs that allows them privileged access to the Westminster estate.
Johnson was originally set to face a suspension from parliament of 20 days – enough to trigger a recall petition that would have probably led to a byelection. But the committee said his blistering attempts to intimidate it last Friday would have increased the punishment to 90 days.
Two MPs on the committee – one Labour and the other from the SNP – had pushed for Johnson to be expelled from parliament. But the final report and punishment was signed off unanimously by all seven members.
Johnson rode to power largely based on just one issue, that of leading the charge for Brexit. He clearly has modeled himself on serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT) and seemed to think that as prime minister he could violate norms and then when called out on it, would claim that he was being victimized by political opponents and the deep state who were against his policies. Unlike SSAT though, he has lost the support of his party establishment. After initially calling for his supporters to vote against the report, he has now called off that effort, probably because he feared that the number supporting him would be small, adding further insult to injury.
Boris Johnson called off his parliamentary supporters threatening to vote against the finding that he misled parliament, as he appeared to run out of road in his battle over the Partygate scandal.
The former prime minister asked his allies not to oppose a motion in the House of Commons on Monday endorsing the findings of the privileges committee, which found he deliberately misled parliament and was part of a campaign to intimidate MPs investigating him.
Johnson has lashed out at the committee as a “kangaroo court” and strongly rejected its findings. But he told his small band of allies in parliament that there was no point in voting against the report, because it would have no practical consequences.
Some in the Conservative party clearly think that he is damaging the party and are hoping that he will now just shut the hell up, something that is unlikely with such an arrogant jerk with a strong sense of entitlement.
“It’s all extremely depressing, all this tearing each other apart,” says one Tory MP and former minister whose career thrived under Boris Johnson but who now holds no candle for his former boss.
“Most of us just want a period of silence from him so we can get on with saving what we can before the next election. But there’s not very much chance of that happening.”
This is the prevalent view among Tory MPs, many of whom backed Johnson for leader despite knowing his flaws and history of lying.
They have fallen out of love with Johnson more comprehensively than grassroots party members, having had ringside seats at the circus of his premiership.
Fewer than 10 of 350 Conservative MPs came out publicly in support of Johnson on the day the privileges committee report found he had misled parliament over Partygate.
One of his few remaining supporters is Jacob Rees-Mogg, someone who epitomizes Upper Class Twit. It appears that Johnson has awarded him a knighthood on his way out even though, as far as I know, he has not done anything worthwhile in is life, instead just drifting along on the crest of privilege and entitlement.
It seems like Johnson’s path back to power is closed. Unlike in the US where SSAT can appeal to the public over the party establishment and win the nomination, in the UK the road back to party leader begins with being a member of parliament and the party can block his nomination as a candidate to a constituency at the next election.
So it looks like Johnson has been consigned to permanent political irrelevancy.
Jonathan Pie has something to say about his exit from parliament.