Lesson plan; Boris Johnson Partygate; breaking news! June 15th 2023

Read the article below.

According to The Independent, the long-awaited investigation by MPs on the privileges committee into whether Boris Johnson lied to parliament over Partygate has been published1. The report is 30,000 words long and can be accessed in full via the link provided in the article.

The report finds that Boris Johnson deliberately misled MPs over Partygate and faced a 90-day ban before he quit2. The report is available on The Independent website.

Boris Johnson has also released a scathing 1,700-word statement on the Privileges Committee’s report into Partygate, describing the findings as “deranged” 3. You can read his statement in full on The Telegraph website.

Do more research on the topic and answer these questions:

  1. What was Boris Johnson’s first job?
  2. When did Boris Johnson become an MP?
  3. What was Boris Johnson’s role in the Brexit campaign?
  4. What was Boris Johnson’s role in the London Olympics?
  5. What was Boris Johnson’s role in the Conservative Party before becoming Prime Minister?
  6. What was Boris Johnson’s role in the UK government before becoming Prime Minister?
  7. What is Boris Johnson’s stance on climate change?
  8. What is Boris Johnson’s stance on immigration?

Essay questions

  1. What were the key findings of the investigation into Boris Johnson’s conduct during Partygate?
  2. What were the consequences of the investigation for Boris Johnson and his political career?
  3. What does the Partygate scandal reveal about the state of British politics and democracy?

The long-awaited investigation by MPs on the privileges committee into whether Boris Johnson lied to parliament over Partygate has been published today, and it is a damning indictment of the former prime minister’s conduct. The report found that Johnson deliberately and repeatedly misled parliament and the public about the lockdown-breaking parties that took place at Downing Street and other government buildings in 2020 and 2021, when such gatherings were banned by his own Covid-19 restrictions. The report also accused Johnson of trying to intimidate and discredit the committee, leaking its findings to the media, and undermining the democratic processes of parliament.

The committee, which consists of four Conservative MPs, two Labour MPs and one SNP MP, unanimously agreed that Johnson’s actions were a flagrant breach of the rules and warranted a severe sanction. They recommended that Johnson be suspended from parliament for 90 days, which would have triggered a recall petition and possibly a by-election in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency. However, Johnson pre-empted this outcome by resigning as an MP last week, in a furious statement that denounced the committee as a “kangaroo court” and a “witch hunt”. The committee also suggested that Johnson be denied the pass that grants former MPs access to the Westminster estate, as a further sign of his contempt for parliament.

The report is based on a 14-month investigation that involved interviewing dozens of witnesses, examining hundreds of documents and emails, and reviewing CCTV footage from Downing Street. It concluded that Johnson was aware of at least 10 parties that took place between March 2020 and July 2021, when strict social distancing rules were in force across the country. These parties included a quiz night in No 10, a birthday celebration for Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings, a leaving do for his former communications director Lee Cain, and a cheese and wine evening for his press team. The report said that Johnson attended some of these events himself, or was nearby when they took place.

The report also found that Johnson lied to parliament on several occasions when he denied that any parties had taken place, or claimed that they were in line with the Covid-19 guidance at the time. The committee said that Johnson’s statements were “inaccurate, misleading and inconsistent”, and that he failed to correct them when he had the opportunity to do so. The report said that Johnson’s lies were not only a breach of his duty as an MP, but also a betrayal of the public trust and an insult to the millions of people who followed the rules and made sacrifices during the pandemic.

The committee also criticized Johnson for his attempts to undermine its work and discredit its members. The report said that Johnson refused to cooperate fully with the investigation, withheld relevant information, gave evasive and contradictory answers, and accused the committee of bias and political motivation. The report said that Johnson also leaked its findings to selected journalists last Friday before they were officially published, in order to pre-empt the committee’s conclusions and launch a personal attack on its chair, Harriet Harman. The report said that Johnson’s behaviour was “unprecedented” and “amounted to an attack on our democratic institutions”.

The report has been welcomed by opposition parties, who have called for Johnson to face further consequences for his actions. Labour leader Keir Starmer said that Johnson had shown “contempt for parliament and contempt for the British people”, and urged him to apologise for his lies. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said that Johnson had “disgraced himself” and “brought shame on his office”, and demanded that he be stripped of his knighthood. Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said that Johnson had “broken the law” and “abused his power”, and suggested that he should face criminal charges.

Johnson has rejected the report’s findings, calling them “preposterous” and “a charade”. He said that he did not lie to parliament or mislead anyone about the parties, and accused the committee of trying to “bring about what is intended to be the final knife-thrust in a protracted political assassination”. He said that he was proud of his record as prime minister, and vowed to continue fighting for his political beliefs as a private citizen.

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