Boris Johnson says he’s quitting as a conservative lawmaker after being told he will be sanctioned for misleading Parliament.
It comes as a parliamentary committee concluded the former premier had misled his Parliament over partygate COVID-19 rule breaches and was going to be sanctioned for more than 10 days.
The partygate scandal followed a series of gatherings by members of government and Conservative Party staff during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and 2022 when public health guidelines recommended social distancing and prohibited social and large gatherings.
Police had issued 126 fines over the late-night soirees, boozy parties and “wine time Fridays,” including one to Johnson, and the scandal helped hasten the end of his premiership.
Johnson’s resignation triggers a by-election to replace him as the Conservative MP of Uxbridge and South Ruislip in Greater London.
In a statement, he accused opponents of trying to drive him out.
He said he had “received a letter from the Privileges Committee making it clear, much to my amazement, that they are determined to use the proceedings against me to drive me out of Parliament.”
He called the committee a “kangaroo court.”
The committee had been expected to publish its report in the next few weeks, and Johnson could have faced suspension from the House of Commons if he was found to have lied deliberately.
Johnson, whose career has been a roller coaster of scandals and comebacks, led the Conservatives to a landslide victory in 2019 but was forced out by his own party less than three years later.
Johnson maintains there is ‘not a shred of evidence’ to prove that he misled his Government.
In a resignation statement, he said the Tory party must “recapture momentum” in an apparent verbal attack on the incumbent prime minister Rishi Sunak.
“Just a few years after winning the biggest majority in almost half a century, that majority is now clearly at risk. Our party needs urgently to recapture its sense of momentum and its belief in what this country can do” he said.
Johnson was the third of five consecutive Conservative Prime Ministers to serve since 2010. David Cameron resigned his parliamentary seat in September 2016 months after losing the Brexit referendum.