“I DO not think that he should pre-empt the outcome of the inquiry.” That was Boris Johnson’s response when quizzed on the Sue Gate partygate probe in the Commons on January 12, 2022.

“[Keir Starmer] should wait, he should wait before he jumps to conclusions,” he added that same day. “May I humbly suggest to him that he should wait until the inquiry has concluded?”

A week later, the line was the same. “We have an inquiry, and I am not going to anticipate that inquiry.”

Johnson and his Tory ministers were absolutely adamant at the time, repeating the same line again and again: Gray was investigating and no one could possibly comment on anything while that was ongoing.

Now, that core principle (which was always really just political spin) has gone out the window.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson’s defence against partygate contempt probe due to be published

Instead, Johnson is furiously briefing against the Privileges Committee of MPs investigating whether he misled parliament over the partygate scandal.

The investigation is ongoing – the former prime minister is due to give a marathon evidence session on Wednesday – but he has no qualms about commenting on it.

“The committee will find Boris did not mislead Parliament,” a source close to Johnson’s defence team told The Telegraph.

That “source” said the former Tory leaders’ taxpayer-funded lawyers will “say a lot about how unfair the process has been”, and accuse the Privileges Committee of “moving the goalposts” to find Johnson guilty.

Fierce Johnson ally Jacob Rees-Mogg is also attacking the committee, saying it makes “kangaroo court look respectable”, and claiming its Labour chair is involved in a “stitch up”.

Conveniently ignored is the fact that of the seven MPs probing Johnson, four of them are Tories.

“It is an intriguing and novel tactic by Boris Johnson and his lawyers to attack the integrity of the cross-party privileges committee and its chair [Harriet] Harman even before he has presented his evidence to it,” ITV’s Robert Peston tweeted, adding that it had “shades of the Trump playbook”.

The reason for Johnson’s attempt to pre-empt the inquiry and control the media narrative is clear. Like Donald Trump – who may be arrested later this week – the law-breaking former prime minister is panicking. His political career hinges on the findings of the committee’s report.

READ MORE: Stuart Cosgrove: 10 slippery phrases politicians give instead of straight answers

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to give his MPs a free vote on any sanctions recommended if Johnson is found to have misled parliament, which could lead to a suspension and ultimately even a by-election in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat.

Such an expulsion would mark an ignominious end to an ignominious parliamentary career, and is one Johnson is desperate to avoid.

With so much at stake, is it any wonder he has scrapped his “I won’t comment on an ongoing investigation” principle?

After all, sticking to principles is not something Johnson has ever been known for.