Partygate: Boris Johnson should go for 'misleading the House', which should be a resigning offence at both Westminster and Holyrood – Brian Wilson

If Boris Johnson is shown the door, it will not be because he had a few drinks during lockdown. It will be because he repeatedly told lies about it.

Boris Johnson speaks during heated exchanges over the Partygate affair at Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday (Picture: PA)
Boris Johnson speaks during heated exchanges over the Partygate affair at Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday (Picture: PA)

The distinction is really important for the alternative, with which we are all too familiar in Scotland, is “say anything and get away with it if you have a brass neck and a majority”.

When stories about parties emerged, Johnson might have buried them with honesty. “Things happened that shouldn’t have… we were all under stress… I take responsibility.” That might have washed.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

His instinct however was to insist “no rules were broken” and brass it out. Thereafter, every misdemeanour became evidence of a larger crime – “misleading the House”. So why does that matter so much?

Keir Starmer put it well in Thursday’s debate: “The convention Parliament must not be misled and, in return, we do not accuse each other of lying are not curious quirks of this strange place but fundamental pillars on which our constitution is built, and they are observed wherever parliamentary democracy thrives. With them, our public debate is elevated.”

Read More

Read More
Nicola Sturgeon denies 'cover up' over Ferguson ferries fiasco

To some around politics, this might sound like mumbo-jumbo, to be trampled on as required. If Johnson’s political demise becomes a landmark in re-asserting a noble principle, it will serve an historically useful purpose.

Neither should it be a principle exclusive to Westminster. Let us not forget that Nicola Sturgeon was found by her peers to have misled a parliamentary committee under oath and she did brass it out. I would definitely add "ferries" to that charge-sheet. We must hope the Mother of Parliaments remains capable of higher standards.

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.