Boris Johnson's Partygate lies mean he should not be allowed a resignation honours list but Rishi Sunak has waved them through – Angus Robertson
and live on Freeview channel 276
We all knew it. A liar and a rule-breaker. The report into Boris Johnson’s statements to the House of Commons about the parties he attended in Downing Street during the Covid lockdown condemned the former Prime Minister for misleading parliament – a grave parliamentary offence.
While Johnson claimed to have no knowledge of the parties that went on, the MPs on the Tory-majority committee proved he had "personal knowledge" of rule-breaking in Downing Street; in other words, he deliberately lied to MPs.
The report also showed that, as part of efforts to cover up the truth, he didn’t make any attempt to obtain "authoritative" assurances about whether rules were followed by others, showing a "deliberate closing of his mind". Clearly, he knew that if he asked, he would be told that rules were not followed. The report called out Johnson’s disingenuousness, stating it was "highly unlikely" he actually believed the assurances he himself issued to MPs, and "still less that he could continue to believe them to this day".
The central crime that Johnson committed on multiple occasions was contempt of parliament. He deliberately misled MPs on the committee set up to investigate him; he revealed details of the confidential report he was given in advance of publication for comment; he moaned about and called committee members names for their report and incited a "campaign of abuse" against its members. Quite rightly, the committee found that the contempt was "all the more serious" because he held the most senior post of government; he debased the office of the Prime Minister.
Let’s not forget, even before becoming Prime Minister, Johnson was fired from his former journalism job for making up a quote; he championed the £350m NHS Brexit lie; gave distorted figures of new hospitals and numbers of police officers; and pretended he was unaware of Tory donors paying for Downing Street upgrades despite Whatsapping to ask for them. Yet Rishi Sunak has seen fit to approve Johnson’s list of friends and rule-breaking accomplices who will receive gongs and lordships in his Prime Ministerial honours list.
Most will have seen the utterly despicable video that showed the raucous partying that went on at the Conservative party headquarters during lockdown. Two of the people at that party, former Tory London mayoral candidate Sean Bailey and staffer Ben Mallet, were awarded a lordship and an OBE respectively in Johnson’s list. And since the video emerged, Sunak has not lifted a finger to stop them from receiving their honours.
They have been rewarded for their contempt for all those who obeyed the lockdown rules and could not see family members who died alone in hospital. There is no excuse for Johnson’s honours being approved by Sunak.
But there is an explanation. Remember Sunak’s role in the Partygate saga: he too was fined for breaking lockdown rules. The current Prime Minister says he is content to wave through his former boss’s long list of pal appointments because of “precedent”.
Let us be clear: Johnson’s actions as Prime Minister are nothing like those who have preceded him. His deceit and abysmal behaviour are wholly unprecedented, and he should not receive any of the graces that former Prime Ministers are entitled to, let alone be allowed to decorate his rule-breaking accomplices.