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LONDON — Boris Johnson will be grilled by MPs later this month on whether he misled parliament over the so-called Partygate affair.
The House of Commons privileges committee said Johnson had accepted an invitation to appear in front of them in the week beginning March 20.
The cross-party group is currently investigating whether Johnson misled parliament when he was questioned over what he knew about a host of rule-breaching parties held in government amid strict lockdown restrictions.
In a preliminary report summarising what it will put to Johnson, the committee on Friday raised four occasions on December 8, 2021 where they said there is evidence the Commons “may have been misled” by the-then prime minister.
Johnson’s government was damaged by the partygate scandal, which saw him, current PM Rishi Sunak and more than 50 government officials slapped with police fines.
The committee’s investigation is separate from the Partygate probe carried out by then-senior civil servant Sue Gray — who quit Thursday to take up a job with Labour leader Keir Starmer. Gray’s report found “failures of leadership” in the U.K. government over the lockdown gatherings.
The privileges committee also published several photos of Johnson attending gatherings.
It said that if Johnson is found to have misled parliament, it will then look into whether this was “inadvertent, reckless or intentional.” If intentional, the group “will consider what sanction” to recommend.
To deliberately mislead parliament is a breach of the U.K.’s ministerial code — typically, but not always, a resigning matter.
Though he is no longer a minister, if the committee finds Johnson deliberately misled parliament it could recommend a suspension or even expulsion from the Commons.
However, any sanction would need to be approved by the Commons for it to take effect.