Bitter Gove dismantles Boris’s Partygate claims with brutal one-word snub

Former prime minister Boris Johnson quits as MP

Michael Gove has broken his silence on Boris Johnson’s resignation as MP – and delivered a one-word snub to the former PM’s claims the Commons Privileges Committee was the “very definition of a kangaroo court”.

In a 1,000-word statement confirming his resignation, the former Tory leader took aim at the committee, which has been investigating whether he lied to the Commons when he said Covid rules were followed in Downing Street following reports that lockdown-busting parties had been held there while restrictions were in place.

Mr Johnson claimed the seven-person panel was on a “witch hunt” and said it aimed to drive him out of Parliament.

He said he was “bewildered and appalled” at being “forced out, anti-democratically” and alleged the investigation had set out from the beginning to “find me guilty, regardless of the facts”.

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In his statement, Mr Johnson said: “I did not lie, and I believe that in their hearts the Committee know it. But they have wilfully chosen to ignore the truth because from the outset their purpose has not been to discover the truth, or genuinely to understand what was in my mind when I spoke in the Commons.

“Their purpose from the beginning has been to find me guilty, regardless of the facts. This is the very definition of a kangaroo court.

“Most members of the Committee – especially the chair – had already expressed deeply prejudicial remarks about my guilt before they had even seen the evidence. They should have recused themselves. In retrospect, it was naive and trusting of me to think that these proceedings could be remotely useful or fair.”

There were reports the committee, consisting of seven MPs and chaired by Harriet Harman, was preparing to recommend a 10-day suspension from the Commons.

This conclusion would have resulted in a recall petition among Mr Johnson’s constituents and a potential by-election if more than 10 percent voted for one.

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Now Michael Gove has become the first minister to break his silence since the resignation and refuted his former ally’s claims.

Asked at Kite Festival on Saturday if he thought the committee was a kangaroo court, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities simply replied “no”.

Mr Gove added that he felt a “profound sense of sadness” but that until the report is published “we’ve got to trust their judgement”.

He said people would make their own minds up when the report was published and in that sense, “I don’t think it’s additional damage done”.

Mr Gove, who was dismissed by Mr Johnson in 2022, singled out the Covid vaccine rollout and assistance to Ukraine as things the former Prime Minister had done to improve lives.

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