A spokesperson for the former prime minister denied the allegations, dismissing them as a “politically motivated stitch-up.” They argued that the events in question were held outdoors or fell within lawful exceptions, including regular meetings with civil servants and advisers. Mr. Johnson’s lawyers have reportedly written to the Cabinet Office and the Commons Privileges Committee, stating that the events were lawful and did not breach any Covid regulations.
The Privileges Committee, comprised of seven MPs, has been investigating whether Mr. Johnson misled Parliament regarding Covid rule-breaking events in government buildings. The committee has received additional evidence from the government and has requested a response from Mr. Johnson, which will be considered during its probe. If the committee determines that Mr. Johnson deliberately misled MPs, he could potentially face suspension from Parliament, leading to a by-election in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency.
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner called for the government to explain who else knew about the alleged breaches at the time and why the information has only now come to light. Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper suggested that Mr. Johnson should consider his position as an MP. Representatives from Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice criticized the prime minister, deeming him unfit for public service.
Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg defended Mr. Johnson, stating that the allegations are yet another example of those who oppose him always seeking to find fault. Mr. Johnson previously faced public backlash and resigned as prime minister in July 2021 following revelations of his violation of Covid lockdown rules. He was also fined by the police in April 2021 for attending a gathering during lockdown and a report in May 2022 detailed rule-breaking social events held in Downing Street. The public inquiry, separate from the Privileges Committee’s probe, is set to commence hearings next month.