Boris Johnson, former Prime Minister, has denied lying to the United Kingdom’s Parliament during a televised deposition as part of an inquiry into “Partygate”.

Johnson took an oath regarding the Bible and told a committee of parliamentary standards that everything he had said to legislators about the COVID-19 pandemic gatherings at 10 Downing Street was “in good faith” and based on what he honestly believed at the time.

He said, “Hand on heart…I did not lie to you House.”

Johnson stated, “People who claim we were partying under lockdown, simply don’t know what they are talking bout,” and added that they should have been considered workplace meetings.

Sir Bernard Jenkin, the Tory senior parliamentarian, questioned him and suggested that he hadn’t sufficiently verified the claims before denying any breach of conduct. His temper flared.

He called the members of the committee “complete nonsense” but reiterated his claim that the gatherings were “absolutely necessary for work.”

The ex-Conservative leader who almost died from COVID was accused of knowing that the gatherings had repeatedly violated the lockdown legislation that he himself had introduced.

He assured Parliament at the time that the guidance was being observed.

He said, “I apologise to the House for inadvertently misleading it.” “But to claim that I did it recklessly, or intentionally, is completely false.”

Johnson could be suspended from Parliament if he is found to have lied. If the House votes to suspend Johnson for more than 10 days, it could trigger a special election in his seat in northwest London, if enough voters request one.

Jonah Hull of Al Jazeera reported from London that Johnson was sometimes “fighting for his future political position” at times.

COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK stated that his claim that he denied his “Partygate” denials was “sickening”.

Hull stated that it would be many years before an independent inquiry released its findings into the government’s failures during the pandemic.

The bereaved families feel that watching Boris Johnson go through this type of questioning is the closest to accountability.

Amanda Henry, whose father was killed by COVID-19, said to Al Jazeera that they had “trusted government to protect all of our, and especially the most vulnerable. And he didn’t.”

“I don’t think” [Johnson] Henry stated that Henry should have been a politician or a career as a government official after what he did. “It is disturbing to me that he is not being held accountable.”

Scandals Evidence

Johnson acknowledged that not all social distancing was perfect, but he claimed that Downing Street had provided the necessary mitigations to make two-metre social ditancing possible.

He stated that “it was always the case that it was clear that the confines at Number 10 were going make it impossible for the whole time to enforce total social distancing as it were with an electrical force field around each individual.”

Tuesday’s release of a 52-page dossier by him demonstrates his belief that he was honest when he repeatedly stated to Parliament that all regulations were being observed.

He later realized that he had “misled” legislators based on assurances from top aides that the rules were being observed.

Johnson stated, “No one advised” Johnson that Johnson had received after any of the events that they were not following the rules or guidance. Johnson also stated that Johnson was not aware that Johnson had allowed them to continue in a manner that would violate the rules or guidance.

The parliamentary committee published an additional 110-page bundle with evidence hours before Wednesday’s televised hearing.

It also included a Downing Street official who stated that Johnson “often saw” and “joined” gatherings within the complex during lockdowns and that “he had been able to shut them down.”

“He could see the culture and allowed it to continue,” the official said.

Evidence also showed that Simon Case, UK’s most senior civil servant and Cabinet Secretary, denied ever confirming to Johnson that COVID rules were being followed at all times.

Johnson and Sunak, his finance minister at that time, were both fined by police for one event. Other staff members were also fined.

After initially insisting that the gatherings were not legal, the former leader apologized and corrected the parliamentary record in May.



Al Jazeera and news agencies

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