Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson today announced his resignation as an MP, which will take effect immediately.
Johnson resigned after learning the outcome of a House of Commons committee inquiry into the Partygate scandal last March.
The scandal concerned the parties organized in the prime minister’s residence in Downing Street, London, between May 2020 and April 2021, in violation of the restrictions introduced by the government itself to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The commission that listened to Johnson is called the Committee of Privileges: it had to assess whether Johnson had lied when, at the time of the scandal, he said in parliament that no social distancing rules had been violated at parties in Downing Street.
The commission finally concluded that Johnson had in fact lied to parliament, and suggested a suspension of more than ten days for him (the commission has advisory powers only, the final decision rests with parliament).
In announcing his resignation, in a very heated statement, Johnson commented: “It is very sad to leave parliament, at least for now, but what shocks and baffles me most is being forced to leave, undemocratically, by a commission chaired and run by Harriet Harman with shameful bias.” It is not the first time that Johnson, a Conservative, has accused Harman, a Labor member, of having prejudices against him: they had also had very tough exchanges during the hearing in March.
Johnson also reiterated that according to him the commission’s goal “from the beginning was to find me guilty, regardless of the facts”.
To replace Johnson, by-elections will be held in his constituency, Uxbridge and South Ruislip.