Boris ally claims Partygate committee’s findings should be rejected
Boris Johnson erupts at ‘complete nonsense’ in Partygate grilling
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Prominent Boris ally Lord Greenhalgh has sensationally said the former Prime Minister should reject the findings of the Privileges Committee if they rule against him, on the grounds it’s a politically-charged Kangaroo Court.
Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the former minister was asked whether Boris Johnson should ignore the findings of the Partygate probe.
He said: “I don’t see why he should accept the findings of a politically-charged committee if they haven’t got the evidence to prove he knowingly misled parliament.
“That is the burden of proof that is shown to be, in parliamentary precedent, that which you have to prove!”
Lord Greenhalgh said Mr Johnson performed “very well” during the four-hour question session in parliament yesterday, and he sees no evidence that the former prime minister knowingly misled parliament.
He also hit out at the Committee for creating a “new category of offence”, namely “recklessly misleading”, which he argues has “never been used before in the parliamentary setting”.
“I asked the question of distinguished lawyers who understand Erskine May and parliamentary precedent, whether any parliamentarian has ever been sanctioned for recklessly misleading, and no one ever has.”
“It’s an example, I think, of this committee changing the rules, and that is of great concern to me.”
Lord Greenhalgh appeared alongside Pippa Crerar, the former Mirror journalist who first revealed Downing Street staff had held parties during lockdown, and Dr Saleyha Ahsan who lost her father to Covid and is now campaigning with Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice.
Responding to whether he understands why so many people are angry with Downing Street parties, Lord Greenhalgh spoke about how he personally lost his own mother to Covid and wasn’t able to be with her when she died.
He added “it was brutal” and he “empathises entirely with those people who lost loved ones, it was an unprecedented pandemic”.
But he said yesterday’s committee grilling was about “whether the former prime minister knowingly misled parliament”.
Pippa Crerar said that Lord Greenhalgh’s suggestion that Mr Johnson shouldn’t accept the findings of the Privileges Committee would “show him to be not necessarily the man of integrity and good faith that he would like us to believe he is”.
She added that Mr Johnson rejecting the findings would “show that he cares more about his own political future than he does about politics’ reputation in general”.
Yesterday Mr Johnson was questioned by committee member Sir Charles Walker about allegations by his allies, such as Lord Greenhalgh, that the panel is a “kangaroo court”.
Sir Charles said there had been “a concerted effort to delegitimise the committee, to call us a kangaroo court”.
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While Mr Johnson admitted he had “raised the question of fairness” about the committee being led by Harriet Harman – who has already accused Mr Johnson of lying to the House – he said he rejected the allegation it was a Kangaroo Court.
“I deprecate the term you have just used, I don’t want to repeat it”.
During the committee meeting, Jacob Rees-Mogg tweeted, “Boris is doing very well against the marsupials.”
Reporters from the pro-Boris Johnson news website Guido Fawkes took to parliament yesterday dressed as kangaroos to denounce the probe.
The website joked, “The whole thing strikes us as a kanga-ruse to force Boris to take the high jump.”
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