Love him or hate him, everyone knows Boris Johnson thrives on being the center of attention.
Next Wednesday afternoon from 2pm, the former prime minister will be back in the spotlight at Westminster to make a big show of stakes, which is sure to be a popcorn moment for onlookers.
Live, members of the Cross-Parties Privileges Committee He will question Mr. Johnson for up to four hours about whether he had willfully lied when he told the House of Commons he had no knowledge of rule-breaking parties at Number 10 during the coronavirus emergency.
If the MPs found him guilty, they would recommend a punishment that could lead to him losing his Parliamentary seat representing Oxbridge – a disaster that would surely end the political career of a man who would again be Prime Minister.
Technically, MPs have to decide whether Mr Johnson committed contempt of the House by lying to him about parties, and not later correcting his words.
It is a trial by his peers.
First, the seven deputies on the Privileges Committee. Then, if the penalty is recommended, the entire House of Commons will decide whether to apply it.
The commission’s work had already caused quarrels in Westminster.
Chris Bryant, the senior Labor MP who chaired it, stood aside, or rather “stepped aside” as is customary, over earlier outspoken criticisms of Johnson.
MPs were reluctant to allow the distinguished Conservative Party leader, Brexiteer Sir Bernard Jenkin, to take over, so Harriet Harman, the former Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, was chosen to take over.
Meanwhile, two of the conservatives on the committee, first-time MP Andy Carter and Alberto Costa, have resigned from minor positions in government to keep their place in it. The other members are Alain Doran (SNP), Yvonne Foufarge (Labour) and Sir Charles Walker (Conservative). Four Conservatives give them a majority on the Seven Committee.
taxpayers Mr. Johnson paid to hire his own lawyer On behalf of the government.
Strong circumstantial case against Mr Johnson
David Pannick, an independent member of the House of Lords, duly gave opinions that the committee’s actions were “deeply unsatisfactory” and “fundamentally flawed”.
His main argument was that the crux should not be whether Johnson misled the House, but whether there was an “intent to mislead”.
Other clients of Lord Bannick KC include Sir Philip Green, Shamima Begum and Manchester City.
MPs are the legislators who regulate their own affairs and have put Lord Pannick’s argument aside.
However, Johnson’s intentions in making the statements he made will be hot spots during his grilling next week.
There is a strong circumstantial case against Mr Johnson. He has repeatedly denied any knowledge of parties and rule-breaking during the COVID restriction periods in 2020 and 2021, though he has announced many of the regulations himself.
Subsequently, he accepted a fixed fine notice from the Metropolitan Police, and was fined for attending a party on his birthday.
Like Partygate’s Sue Gray before it, the interim report ahead of a hearing from the Privileges Committee this month notes “evidence that a workplace drinking culture in some parts of the No 10 continued after COVID restrictions began” including “birthday parties and letting go.” Concerts for officials.
The Commission’s report contains photographs showing more congestion and congestion than the photographs published by Mrs. Gray.
Boris Johnson has been reselected to stand in Uxbridge in the next general election after suggestions of a safer seat
The chief civil servant has warned that Boris Johnson has been an “unreliable figure” during the Covid pandemic
However, when Johnson was questioned about parties in the House of Commons after stories broke in the media in the final months of 2021, he repeatedly denied this.
On December 1, 2021, he told the House of Representatives: “All guidance has been fully followed in No. 10.”
On December 8 he said: “The directives were followed and the rules were followed at all times… I have been reassured time and time again since these allegations came out that there is no party and no COVID rules have been broken.”
The committee wants answers on four points
Interim Committee Report He reaches for the rap sheet he’s going to face.
The committee wants answers on four points.
Did Mr Johnson mislead, that is, lie, when he said “no rules were broken” and that he had “no knowledge of the gatherings”?
Was he sincere when he said he needed to rely on officials’ assurances that no rules had been broken and that he needed to wait for Sue Gray’s report to see if there were parties breaking the rules?
The commission obtained written evidence from the 23 people involved and has already found “violations” [COVID] The guidance would have been clear to Mr Johnson at the time he was at the rallies.”
Lying is a very sensitive topic in Westminster. Many members of the public might think that this is what politicians do all the time. But accusations of lying are officially classified as “unparliamentary language”, and no MP is allowed to directly accuse another person of doing so.
Click to subscribe to Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcast
The assumption is that no “honorable or honorable” member will lie and that if they tell a lie inadvertently, they will correct the official record.
Recently, government ministers corrected their statements in Hansard More than a hundred times a year.
The former prime minister will play on the dwindling band of pro-Boris politicians
No one knows how difficult the questioning will be on Wednesday or how Johnson will react to it.
His tactic of life when he’s in trouble is to lure his audience in and try to make a performative joke out of it.
As his admiring father, Stanley, recalled, she succeeded in the school play at Eton: “Boris was playing the title role. It was fairly obvious he had not learned the part, but he winged it splendidly, inventing on a hoof a series of nearly perfect Shakespearean quintets.”
Johnson’s appearances before more demanding audiences were less successful.
When asked if he was a habitual liar, he couldn’t help but brag, “I don’t agree with that conclusion.”
He was forced to step down as prime minister last summer, shortly after a member of the MPs’ Liaison Committee told him bluntly that “the game is over”.
Sir Max Hastings, who fostered Mr Johnson when he worked with him at the Daily Telegraph Now hate him.
He said: “Those who know Boris better than others.”
Johnson was never a “commons man”, but MPs can’t help but know him well now.
Despite his treatment by the committee, Mr Johnson will play on the dwindling band of pro-Boris politicians, party members and champions in the Tory media, who already claim he has been unjustly brought down by a left-party conspiracy. .
Unlike Mr. Johnson, who tried disastrously to use the whip on his deputies To save his friend Owen Patterson from a 30-day suspension for corruption, Rishi Sunak said he would not get involved.
Johnson’s fate may hinge on which way Tory MPs hop on board, in committee and later in the entire House.
Psychologist Peter Kellner has one piece of advice for those conservatives itching to bring Boris back: “Don’t” — for their own sake.
The investigation is unlikely to lead the stake to upend Johnson’s political career
Analyzing a poll by Delta, Kellner notes that Johnson is no more popular with the public than Sunak or Sir Keir Starmer, and disliked just as much as the lower-ranked Conservative Party, which means he will bring no bounce with him.
Despite this, the chances must be low that a false investigation will finally push the stake to the heart of Johnson’s political career via the MPs Withdrawal Act, introduced by David Cameron.
First, the committee must recommend a suspension of the session for more than 10 days as a penalty, and then it must be approved by a majority in the House of Representatives. Only then should a motion of no confidence be filed in his constituency. Then 10% of Oxbridge voters would have to sign it, to expel him and force a by-election.
This sequence is a long request.
The bet must be that the “greased little pig”, as David Cameron called him, will slip away from his political thugs again and continue to draw attention to himself.