Boris Johnson quits as MP, triggering by-election

Boris Johnson has revealed his decision to resign as an MP, effective immediately, following the receipt of a report investigating whether he lied to MPs about partygate. In a scathing statement, the ex-prime minister claimed that the privileges committee was intent on using the proceedings against him to force him out of parliament. As a result, Johnson informed his association in Uxbridge and South Ruislip that he would be stepping down and triggering an immediate by-election.

The cross-party privileges committee, led by Labour MP Harriet Harman, had been examining whether Johnson misled parliament with his statements that all COVID rules and guidance were followed by Number 10 during lockdown gatherings. If MPs recommended a suspension from the Commons of 10 days or more as punishment for lying, Johnson would have faced the prospect of a by-election.

In response to his resignation, a spokesperson for the committee stated that they had “followed the procedures and the mandate of the House at all times and will continue to do so.” They added: “Mr Johnson has departed from the processes of the House and has impugned the integrity of the House by his statement. The Committee will meet on Monday to conclude the inquiry and to publish its report promptly.”

In his lengthy statement, the former prime minister claimed the committee “have still not produced a shred of evidence that I knowingly or recklessly misled the Commons.” Johnson argued that when he spoke in the Commons, he was saying what he believed sincerely to be true and what he had been briefed to say, like any other minister. He accused the committee of having an agenda to find him guilty, regardless of the facts, and suggested that a “witch hunt” was underway to take revenge for Brexit and ultimately reverse the 2016 referendum result.

Johnson also used his statement to criticize Rishi Sunak’s government for raising taxes, not taking full advantage of Brexit, and not being Conservative enough. He hinted at a possible return to politics, saying he was “very sad to be leaving parliament – at least for now.”

Johnson’s departure from political life comes less than four years after he won an historic 80-seat majority and nine months after he was forced to resign as prime minister following the collapse of support in the government over partygate and the Chris Pincher affair. This marks the end of a bombastic political career spanning more than two decades, during which Johnson represented Henley in the Commons between 2001 and 2008, served two terms as mayor of London, and returned to parliament in 2015.

Conservative MP Sir Michael Fabricant, who received a knighthood in Johnson’s resignation honours list, called the treatment of the former prime minister “disgraceful.” However, many MPs welcomed his departure. Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said the British public are “sick to the back teeth of this never-ending Tory soap opera played out at their expense.” Daisy Cooper, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, simply stated: “Good riddance.”

The resignation of Johnson, coming only hours after his resignation honours list had been published, means the Conservatives are likely to face a challenging battle to hold onto the London seat at a by-election. This was the second by-election triggered on Friday, following former culture secretary Nadine Dorries’ decision to quit the Commons immediately, rather than wait until the next election.

World News

Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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