Boris Johnson is resigning as an MP after accusing a Commons investigation into whether he misled Parliament over partygate of attempting to drive him out. The shock announcement comes after the Privileges Committee found he misled Parliament and recommended a sanction of over 10 days. The sanction would have been enough to trigger a by-election in Mr Johnson’s Uxbridge & South Ruislip seat.
Mr Johnson used his resignation statement to deliver a stinging attack on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Government.
He said: “When I left office last year the Government was only a handful of points behind in the polls. That gap has now massively widened.
“Just a few years after winning the biggest majority in almost half a century, that majority is now clearly at risk. Our party needs urgently to recapture its sense of momentum and its belief in what this country can do.
“We need to show how we are making the most of Brexit and we need in the next months to be setting out a pro-growth and pro-investment agenda. We need to cut business and personal taxes – and not just as pre-election gimmicks – rather than endlessly putting them up. We must not be afraid to be a properly Conservative government.
“Why have we so passively abandoned the prospect of a Free Trade Deal with the US? Why have we junked measures to help people into housing or to scrap EU directives or to promote animal welfare?
“We need to deliver on the 2019 manifesto, which was endorsed by 14 million people. We should remember that more than 17 million voted for Brexit. “
Mr Johnson accused the Commons investigation of attempting to drive him out.
The former prime minister, in a statement to the media, compared the Privileges Committee probe to a “kangaroo court” as he announced his intention to step down.
He said, after receiving a letter from the committee, he believed it was “determined to use the proceedings against me to drive me out of Parliament”.
He said: “It is very sad to be leaving Parliament – at least for now – but above all I am bewildered and appalled that I can be forced out, anti-democratically, by a committee chaired and managed, by Harriet Harman, with such egregious bias.”
Mr Johnson faced a grilling by MPs in March over whether he intentionally misled Parliament about illegal parties at No.10 during coronavirus lockdowns when he was prime minister.
He has repeatedly said there was no evidence he intentionally misled parliamentarains about the parties.
The former PM led the Tories to a landslide victory in 2019, but he was forced out by his own party less than three years later.
He had been awaiting the outcome of the investigation over statements he made to Parliament about a slew of gatherings in government buildings in 2020 and 2021 that breached pandemic lockdown rules.
Police issued 126 fines over the late-night soirees, boozy parties and “wine time Fridays”, including one to Mr Johnson with the scandal helping to hasten the end of his premiership.
The committee is expected to publish its report in the next few weeks.
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