Ex-PM Johnson’s official partygate defence set to be revealed today

Boris Johnson’s response to allegations that he lied to parliament about Downing Street lockdown parties is expected today.

The former prime minister’s case will be submitted to the privileges committee by barrister Lord Pannick KC, and allies believe his position – that he was unaware any gatherings broke the rules – will be “vindicated”.

Mr Johnson’s legal fees are expected to cost the taxpayers around £220,000.

The seven-member privileges committee, chaired by Labour’s Harriet Harman but with a Tory majority, will decide whether the Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP misled the Commons – and if it was “reckless or intentional”.

If his actions are found to be in contempt of parliament, the committee will recommend a punishment that MPs will then vote on, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expected to grant a free vote.

A 10-day or longer suspension from parliament could result in a by-election in Mr Johnson’s seat.

His defence will be made public before he appears before the committee on Wednesday.

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