Revealed: The key figures who back Boris Johnson’s account over Partygate
- Boris Johnson faces a four-hour grilling by Commons privileges committee
- Former prime minister has set out his defence for the first time over Partygate
Boris Johnson has set out his Partygate defence for the first time ahead of a four-hour televised grilling by the Commons privileges committee in what is a pivotal moment in his political career.
The former prime minister repeatedly assured officials that no rules were broken at six Downing Street gatherings during lockdown.
Johnson has submitted a 52-page dossier which showed he was incorrectly informed by senior aides that Covid regulations had been followed at all times.
On Wednesday, Johnson will face a testing afternoon in front of the committee as they look to uncover whether he lied to Parliament when he reassured MPs that lockdown rules had been observed.
Here, the Mail looks at who the key figures backing the ex-premier are…
Boris Johnson repeatedly assured officials that no rules were broken during six Downing Street gatherings in his defence
Johnson has submitted a 52-page dossier which showed he was incorrectly informed by senior aides that Covid regulations had been followed at all times
Martin Reynolds, Boris Johnson’s principal private secretary: ‘I believe these decisions were taken in good faith and were reasonable on a common sense reading of the relevant regulations… The attendees included some of those responsible for the regulations. I believe in- house lawyers were copied into some invitations.’
James Slack, the then prime minister’s official spokesman: ‘I honestly don’t think that anyone who was in that room was breaking any rules. They were with their colleagues, who they sat with all day every day for 12 hours.’
Jack Doyle, Downing Street director of communications: ‘As per my evidence to the Sue Gray report, in relation to the events I attended I said I believed no rules were broken… I advised the PM that I did not consider the event of December 18, 2020, to be a party, as per my evidence to the Cabinet Office investigation.’
Tory MP Andrew Griffith, Mr Johnson’s parliamentary private secretary: ‘It is my honest belief that Mr Johnson did not deliberately or negligently mislead the House… I recall that in the daily office meeting, as newspapers initially published allegations of gatherings in No 10, Mr Johnson was given assurances by multiple different 10 Downing Street staff present.’
Tory MP Sarah Dines, another parliamentary private secretary: ‘I remember on one occasion while I was at a meeting with Mr Johnson with many other people in the Cabinet Room that Mr Johnson as[ked] a question of the meeting, “We did follow the rules at all times, didn’t we?” I recall more than one person in the room said “Yes, of course”… I am about 90 per cent sure one of them was Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary.’
Martin Reynolds, Boris Johnson’s principal private secretary (pictured together in 2020), is one of the key figures backing the former PM
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