A series of “disturbing” attacks launched by Boris Johnson’s against MPs investigating his Partygate claims undermined British democracy, the privileges committee has found.
A scathing report named Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nadine Dorries, Zac Goldsmith and Priti Patel among the Johnson loyalists who made “unprecedented” and “unacceptable” attempts to damage the work of the cross-party group.
The MPs catalogued the “most disturbing” examples of a “co-ordinated campaign to interfere with the work of the committee” in a new, 14-page report condemning the former PM’s most ardent backers.
The privileges committee had found Mr Johnson guilty of “repeated contempts” by deliberately lying and being complicit in a campaign of abuse and intimidation against MPs.
The seven-person panel, chaired by veteran Labour MP Harriet Harman, used its 106-page report to warn Mr Johnson’s most vocal defenders that they would face scrutiny themselves through a special update.
Mr Johnson – who quit as an MP after learning that the committee would hand him a punishment set to trigger a by-election – said the committee had reached a “deranged conclusion”.
In his bitter resignation statement, the former Tory leader labelled the investigation a “kangaroo court” that was akin to a “witch hunt”.
Sir Jacob, one of those honoured by Mr Johnson, suggested the committee’s “fundamental judgment” was “wrong” – and compared the committee to “communist China”.
Fellow loyalist Ms Dorries urged voters to turf out Tory MPs who backed the committee’s report.
“Any Conservative MP who would vote for this report is fundamentally not a Conservative and will be held to account by members and the public. Deselections may follow,” the ex-culture secretary warned
Another Boris backer, Brendan Clarke-Smith. called the MPs’ conclusions “spiteful, vindictive and overreaching”.
That did not deter MPs from voting overwhelmingly to back the report, with only seven voting against the committee’s findings and 354 voting in favour.
Tory peer Lord Cruddas denied that he had “intimidated” the privileges committee, claimed he was being defamed and argued that he was the victim of snobbery.
“It is defamatory of me and I suspect it is yet more snobbery directed at someone from the working class who has succeeded in life from these career politicians,” tweeted the Johnson ally.
Lord Cruddas, chairman of the Conservative Democratic Organisation, added: “If they don’t want people noticing they are a kangaroo court then they should hop less.”