Boris Johnson to publish defence of his behaviour over Partygate as he faces grilling by MPs
Boris Johnson is planning to publish a detailed defence of his behaviour over Partygate before he is grilled by MPs on Wednesday, The Mail on Sunday has learned.
The former Prime Minister has compiled a comprehensive legal case, arguing that he received clear advice at the time that lockdown gatherings in Downing Street were within Covid rules, which will be made public in the coming days.
Photos of Mr Johnson and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case surrounded by Downing Street staff – the other faces blurred for anonymity – form the core of his defence that he did not intentionally mislead the House over Covid-era parties at No 10.
Sources claim that none of the more than two dozen No 10 staff who have given evidence to the committee – many of them featured in the photographs – have told the MPs that they believed they were breaking the rules.
Mr Johnson is also likely to argue that the gatherings were held to try to boost morale in No 10 which had been hit by waves of illness and which contributed to a stressful working environment.
A source said: ‘People were dropping like flies. People were working long hours under stressful conditions, and Boris wanted them to stay cheerful and motivated.
‘Those people in the pictures used the same offices and the same bathrooms, opened the same doors, used the same printers, photocopiers and phones and breathed the same air in that unventilated Victorian building for 16 hours a day.
‘The fact that many pictures were taken by [official photographer] Andy Parsons and placed on the No 10 Flickr account shows we didn’t think we had anything to hide.’
Source of data and images: dailymail