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Boris Johnson accused of intimidation tactics over Partygate lying probe

Eminent lawyer paid with £130,000 of public money argues planned inquiry would be judged ‘unlawful’ by courts

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Saturday 03 September 2022 02:51 BST
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Partygate: Boris Johnson's repeated denials and excuses

Boris Johnson has been accused of trying to intimidate the parliamentary committee investigating whether he lied to the Commons over Partygate, after Downing Street released a legal opinion suggesting its inquiry would be viewed as “unlawful” by the courts.

Eminent lawyer Lord Pannick was paid nearly £130,000 in public money to scrutinise the privileges committee’s procedures, which he concluded were “unfair” because it will pass judgement not only on whether Mr Johnson deliberately lied to MPs but also on whether he simply “misled” them.

And he said it was wrong for the cross-party committee – which is chaired by Labour’s Harriet Harman but has an in-built Conservative majority – to take anonymous evidence and to deny Mr Johnson the right to be represented in hearings by a lawyer and to cross-examine witnesses.

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