MORE evidence has been published by a panel investigating statements made by Boris Johnson in Parliament about the partygate scandal.

It includes damning evidence from former principal private secretary Martyn Reynolds, which suggests that Johnson was warned against claiming that all coronavirus guidance had been followed at No 10 parties.

Cabinet secretary and top civil servant Simon Case also denied that he gave any assurances to the then prime minister that Covid rules or Covid guidance was obeyed at all times in No 10.

An unnamed official, meanwhile, said Johnson could have shut down the gatherings but instead joined in and "allowed the culture to continue".

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MPs on the Privileges Committee are investigating if Johnson knowingly misled Parliament.

The former prime minister will be grilled at 2pm by the committee, with his political future up in the air.

Johnson published a 52-page defence yesterday, where he accepted that he misled the Commons but denied he did so on purpose.

But the newly released 110 pages of evidence – bringing together photos, witness statements and Commons transcripts – casts doubt on that assertion and will be referred to during Johnson's questioning later.

The evidence includes testimony from former principal private secretary Reynolds, who wrote that he recalled asking Johnson about a proposed line to say during PMQs “suggesting that all rules and guidance had been followed”.

“He did not welcome the interruption but told me that he had received reassurances that the comms event was within the rules,” the former adviser said.

“I accepted this but questioned whether it was realistic to argue that all guidance had been followed at all times, given the nature of the working environment in No 10. He agreed to delete the reference to guidance.”

But, on December 8 2021, Johnson went on to tell the Commons “the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times”.

Top civil servant Simon Case has also denied giving any assurances to Boris Johnson that Covid rules or guidance were followed at all times in No 10 (below). 

The National: Excerpt from the reportExcerpt from the report (Image: Privileges Committee)

It's worth noting, however, that evidence from Tory MP Sarah Dines appears to contradict Case.

In her submission to the report, Dines recalled a meeting with Johnson, during which he is said to have asked: "We did follow the rules at all times, didn't we?" 

She said that more than one person in the room responded: "Yes, of course." She was not exactly sure who these people were, but that she was sure they were civil servants.

She also claimed she was "90% sure one of them was Simon Case".

The National:

An unnamed No 10 official also said that the route Johnson would take through Downing Street looked straight into the press room, so it would have been “impossible” not to know the parties were happening.

The official said: “He had the opportunity to shut them down but joined in, made speeches, had a drink with staff. He could have taken the issue up with Martin Reynolds, his principal private secretary, to shut them down. He could see what was happening and allowed the culture to continue."