Downing Street has defended the parliamentary committee investigating whether Boris Johnson misled MPs over partygate, after the panel became the subject of attacks by the former prime minister and his allies.

The Privileges Committee met on Monday to finalise its report into Mr Johnson, who dismissed the inquiry as a “witch hunt” as he dramatically announced his resignation from the Commons.

The probe is thought to have ruled that Mr Johnson lied to Parliament when he told MPs that Covid rules were followed in Downing Street despite boozy parties taking place at the time of social distancing restrictions.

The panel was expected to recommend a suspension of at least 10 days, reaching the threshold which would have almost certainly triggered a by-election in Mr Johnson’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat – with the electoral battle now happening anyway due to his Commons exit.

Mr Johnson accused the committee of “bias” and likened it to a “kangaroo court” in a scathing 1,000-word exit statement on Friday after receiving a draft of the report.

But Rishi Sunak’s spokesman expressed confidence in the MPs’ work, saying they were doing “exactly what Parliament has asked them to do”.

“This is a properly set-up committee that the House has voted to carry out their work,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman told reporters on Monday.

“The Government will in no way traduce or criticise the work of the committee who are doing exactly what Parliament has asked them to do.”

Harriet Harman comment
Harriet Harman was to chair Monday’s meeting to discuss publishing the partygate report (Niall Carson/PA)

Conservative former Cabinet minister Damian Green called Mr Johnson’s attacks on the committee as “very, very unfortunate and wrong”.

The MP defended the committee on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, saying: “I think it’s monstrous that they have been attacked in the way they have.”

He also criticised the way Mr Johnson “flounced out of Parliament” before the committee published its report, which is expected to come on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

In response to Mr Johnson’s attack, a committee spokesperson said he had “impugned the integrity of the House”.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove also defended the integrity of the committee but refused to rebuke party colleagues during an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“It is not my job or role to censor or police anyone’s views in a matter of public debate,” he said.

“I have respect for the work that they have done and I think that we need to respect again the integrity of the process and wait until the report is published before then debating its conclusions and the consequences.

“The second thing that I want to say is that I do deprecate the fact that they are now in a position where, as reported, they have to seek or have been granted additional security.”

Mr Sunak’s spokesman said reported threats against committee members were “completely unacceptable”.

He said: “I’ve only seen the reporting around that. I don’t know the facts. Clearly, any threats against any MPs are completely unacceptable.”