A COMMITTEE of MPs will reportedly find that Boris Johnson deliberately misled the Commons over partygate, after rejecting his central defence.

According to a report in The Times, the former prime minister claimed that he was advised by senior officials that both Covid-19 rules and guidance had been complied with at all times during the pandemic.

However, the Privileges Committee, a standards body that has investigated Johnson, has reportedly concluded that officials did not advise him that social-distancing guidelines had in fact been followed.

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The newspaper reports that one of Johnson’s most senior officials warned him against making such a claim on the basis it was “unrealistic”.

The committee of seven MPs, which includes four Tories, also found Johnson was misleading during a public hearing with the committee at which he claimed that leaving drinks he attended without social distancing were in line with Covid-19 guidance.

The former PM formally quit as the Tory MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip on Monday and has accused the committee of mounting a “witch-hunt” and behaving like a “kangaroo court”.

The committee’s report will reportedly state that Johnson would have been sanctioned with a suspension of more than 10 days, enough to trigger a by-election.

It is also expected to state that criticism of the committee should be considered contempt of parliament following Johnson’s reaction.

He has also accused the committee of “egregious bias” and said it was carrying out a “political hit-job”.

A spokesman for Johnson declined to comment to The Times.

Johnson’s defence rested on the assertion that he had been given “repeated assurances” that Covid guidelines had been followed “at all times”.

However, Jack Doyle, his former director of communications, said in written evidence to the committee: “Don’t think I advised the PM to say that – I mean that the socially distancing guidelines – to say they were followed completely, they are difficult things to say.”

Doyle was one of many Johnson allies to make it on to the former PM's resignation honours list. 

The newspaper also reports that Martin Reynolds, Johnson’s principal private secretary at the time, advised him in December 2021 that he should remove a claim from a statement to the Commons that “all guidance had been followed at all times”.

He questioned “whether it was realistic to argue that all guidance had been followed at all times”.

Johnson removed the line from his opening statement although then repeated the assertion during a debate in the Commons.

The Times was told that the committee views this as evidence Johnson misled the Commons.

Comments made at a hearing in March have also been deemed misleading. Johnson said his attendance at several No 10 leaving drinks, where staff consumed alcohol without social distancing in place, was a "necessary" part of working life as prime minister. 

Johnson said he did not believe for “one second” that rules had been breached because the guidance only required workplaces to distance as far as possible.

This claim has been rejected by the committee and it has also concluded that leaving drinks were not essential to the operation of Downing Street.