The National:

THE UK Government’s Northern Ireland Secretary has been mocked for claiming he believes Boris Johnson to be “an honest man”.

MPs are currently investigating whether the former prime minister misled Parliament over lockdown gatherings in Downing Street held during the pandemic.

Thus far, evidence “strongly suggests” that breaches of guidance “would have been obvious to Johnson at the time he was at the gatherings”.

However, Chris Heaton-Harris has reaffirmed his faith in Johnson during his morning media round, telling Sky News that he did not believe “for one second” that Johnson “knowingly misled Parliament”.

Asked about the investigation by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, Heaton-Harris said: “There are four occasions where he may have done that” – before emphasising the word “may”.

He added: “I believe him to be an honest man and he did not knowingly mislead Parliament.”

Many took to Twitter to question the Minister’s comments, with former Guardian editor Paul Johnson writing: “The debasing of public life goes on and on.”

Another described his appearance on Sky News as “cringe worthy” while someone else said the interviews were a “car crash”.

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Johnson has previously said he never “knowingly or recklessly” misled MPs about lockdown gatherings and that he was confident he would be cleared by the committee in charge of the inquiry into him.

He is due to give evidence to the committee later this month.

It didn’t end there for Heaton-Harris though as he also rejected the claim that Brexit has made us poorer.

Asked for evidence on this, he said: “We’re still a growing economy. We’re doing really well.”

Heaton-Harris might have spoke with confidence but that doesn’t stop the OBR’s prediction that imports and exports will be 50% lower in the long-run than if the UK had remained in the EU.

Meanwhile, the value of Scotland’s exports to the EU have fallen by billions since Brexit, with every one of the country’s 32 local authorities being affected.

The Jouker has lost count of the number of nonsense claims made by Tories down the years that it’s hard to pick which one’s worst.

Claiming Brexit is a good thing though? It’s certainly up there.