The 12 words that sparked Boris Johnson’s downfall

They had been the 12 words that in the end introduced down a major minister and if Boris Johnson didn’t understand it then, he’ll nearly definitely understand it now.

At 12.28pm on Wednesday, December 8 2021, the then-prime minister stood on the dispatch field at Prime Minister’s Questions to reply a query from Labour MP Catherine West, eight days after the primary experiences of Downing Street gatherings emerged.

With a realizing smile, Ms West requested Mr Johnson to inform the home “whether there was a party in Downing Street on 13 November”.

He stood up calmly, putting his notes on the historic despatch field, telling her firmly, “no,” earlier than including, “the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times”.

But only a few hours earlier, two of Mr Johnson’s prime aides had urged him in opposition to making this very declare. Mr Johnson’s former communications chief Jack Doyle and Martin Reynolds, his principal personal secretary, are reported to have warned that any assertion that steerage and guidelines had been adopted could not stand as much as scrutiny.

In the 18 months since, this assertion has pushed Mr Johnson not simply out of workplace as prime minister however in the end out of parliament altogether.

First, investigations by the Metropolitan Police and Partygate investigator Sue Gray confirmed that, in addition to gatherings on at the very least seven different dates, there had been a celebration on 13 November in No 10, in breach of Covid-19 restrictions. Mr Johnson, too, was handed a £50 penalty by police for his personal lockdown breach, at his birthday bash within the Cabinet Room on 19 June 2020.

Boris Johnson on December 8, 2021 as he insisted ‘the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times’ throughout Partygate

(UK Parliament/AFP/Getty)

Now, greater than a 12 months since its inquiries started, the Privileges Committee is ready to conclude that Mr Johnson’s response to Ms West in Parliament intentionally misled the House – breaching the MPs’ Code of Conduct.

Commons guidelines state MPs – and particularly ministers – should not give inaccurate info to parliament, both intentionally or inadvertently.

Giving proof to the committee, Mr Johnson insisted mid-pandemic gatherings in Downing Street had been “essential” and acknowledged he had been “misremembering” when claiming throughout Partygate that guidelines had been adopted always.

Mr Johnson additionally claimed to have been “relying on the advice of officials” when answering questions in Parliament. Central to his defence was the declare that he had been given “repeated assurances” that the Covid guidelines and steerage had been adopted by advisers.

But the committee was not satisfied, with its findings set to advocate Mr Johnson be suspended from Parliament for lengthy sufficient to set off a vote within the Commons on whether or not he ought to face a by-election in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat.

An early model of this report prompted his bombshell resignation on Friday, as Mr Johnson bids to keep away from placing his destiny within the fingers of MPs or his constituents.

A politician who constructed and burnished his picture on his vibrant metaphors, verbosity and command of the English language, Mr Johnson was in the end undone by 12 easy words.

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