Partygate report: Douglas Ross calls Boris Johnson’s actions over Partygate ‘unforgivable’

The Scottish Conservative leader predicted the former prime minister will not make a political comeback

Douglas Ross has called Boris Johnson’s actions over Partygate “unforgivable” as he predicted the former prime minister will not make a political comeback.

The Scottish Conservative leader said any politician who misleads the House of Commons is guilty of a “grave” offence and this was “even worse” for a former prime minister.

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It comes after a cross-party investigation found Mr Johnson committed “repeated contempts” of Parliament by deliberately misleading MPs with his Partygate denials before being complicit in a campaign of abuse and intimidation.

Boris Johnson and Douglas RossBoris Johnson and Douglas Ross
Boris Johnson and Douglas Ross

Branding him the first former prime minister to have ever lied to the Commons, the Privileges Committee said the offences merited a 90-day suspension which would have paved the way for a by-election if he had not quit in anticipation.

His resignation means he will escape that punishment, but the committee recommended he should not receive the pass granting access to Parliament, which is normally given to former MPs.

Mr Johnson was furious at what he called a “deranged conclusion”, accusing the Tory-majority group of MPs led by Labour veteran Harriet Harman, who he has repeatedly sought to disparage, of lying.

MPs will be asked to approve the report on Monday, paving the way for bitter infighting in the Tory Party.

Mr Ross, who called for Mr Johnson to resign in January 2022 over Partygate, but later U-turned, said he would support the recommendations of the committee. He described the report as “very thorough”.

He denied it was a mistake to back Mr Johnson, adding: “I think even Boris Johnson’s harshest critics can also see that there were achievements in his time in office. If you look at the UK’s response to the war in Ukraine, it led much of the Western response.

"If you look at the vaccination rollout, again, even the most critical people of Boris Johnson and his government recognise that we had a faster rollout in vaccinations against the Covid pandemic than other parts of Europe.”

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Put to him that Mr Johnson was also the prime minister who presided over parties while people were dying and unable to see their relatives, Mr Ross said: “Yeah, and that was unforgivable, and people have made that very clear, and in response to that he has been found to have deliberately misled Parliament.”

Mr Ross added: "A committee of Parliament has found that he deliberately misled Parliament, and I think any parliamentarian who misleads parliament is guilty of a grave incident and as a former prime minister that is even worse.”

Mr Ross dismissed claims Mr Johnson could stage a political comeback. He said: “He has voluntarily stood down as an MP. There were plenty of opportunities for him to still be an MP right now, to fight this in the House of Commons and to fight the sanctions and the punishments that have been levelled against him.

“He’s chosen not to do that, so that tells me in as clear a way as possible Boris Johnson is not going to make a return.”



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