Boris Johnson’s former spokesman said he gave up his role as MP to avoid “the humiliation of being kicked out”.
The former Prime Minister dramatically resigned as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip yesterday and issued a scathing statement harshly criticizing the Partygate Inquiry.
He blamed the Commons Inquiry for trying to “evict” him, claiming it was “the definition of a kangaroo dish”.
But his former spokesman, Will Walden, says his old boss will try “with all weapons” to deter he would lose his seat anyway.
Mr Walden told BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ program that he could be ousted in a possible by-election triggered by the Privileges Committee sanction.
He said: “I think the most important thing for people to understand this morning is that there is only one thing that drives Boris and that is that he likes to win or at least not to lose.”
“And he hasn’t lost an election in 26 years, when Clwyd South voters decided in 1997 that he was not their man.”
“I think the first thing to understand is that this report clearly threatens to change all that.”
“He had seen the signs on the wall and knew he was likely to lose a by-election in his rim seat.
“His main motivation here, as it has been for the past year or so, is to protect his version of the narrative.”
“By going full force like he did, he is able to avoid defeat. He is capable of blaming just about anyone else, apparently including everyone who voted to remain in 2016.”
Mr Walden said he didn’t think Mr Johnson was thinking too far ahead, but said his decision to step down was unlikely to spell the end of his political career.
He added: “There’s no plan but he’s preparing for what might come next without the humiliation of a sacking.”
“But it is so, Boris. He told the committee he would not respect the result if they ruled against him – and it has been shown that there is no great surprise here.”
Priti Patel voiced her support for her former colleague following his resignation, saying he had “served our country and his constituency with distinction”.
She tweeted: “He was a world leader in supporting Ukraine, pushed Brexit through and was our most elected prime minister since Margaret Thatcher.” “Boris is a political titan whose legacy will stand the test of time.”
Boris Johnson’s full resignation statement
I received a letter from the Privileges Committee which, much to my astonishment, made it clear that they were determined to use the case against me to oust me from Parliament.
You still haven’t produced the slightest bit of evidence that I knowingly or recklessly misled the House of Commons.
You know very well that when I spoke in the House of Commons I said what I honestly believed to be true and what I was told, like any other Minister. You know I corrected the record as soon as possible; and you know that I and every other senior official and minister – including the current prime minister and then resident of the same building, Rishi Sunak – believed that we were legitimately working together.
I have been an MP since 2001. I take my responsibilities seriously. I wasn’t lying, and I believe the committee knows it in their hearts. But they made a conscious choice to ignore the truth because their aim from the start was not to find out the truth or really understand what was going through my mind as I spoke in the House of Commons.
Your goal from the start was to find me guilty regardless of the facts. That is exactly the definition of a kangaroo court.
Most of the members of the committee – particularly the chairman – had already made deeply biased statements about my guilt before even seeing the evidence. You should have retired.
In hindsight, it was naïve and trusting of me to think that this procedure could even remotely be useful or fair. But I was determined to believe in the system and in justice and to defend what I knew was the truth.
It was that same belief in the impartiality of our systems that led me to hire Sue Gray. It is clear that my faith was misplaced. Of course it suits the Labor Party, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP to do whatever they can to remove me from Parliament.
Unfortunately, as we saw in July last year, there are currently some Tory MPs who share this view. I’m not the only one who thinks a witch hunt is underway to avenge Brexit and ultimately reverse the outcome of the 2016 referendum.
My removal is the necessary first step, and I believe there has been a concerted effort to bring it about. I am afraid I no longer believe it is a coincidence that Sue Gray – who investigated meetings in Number 10 – is now the Labor leader’s designated chief of staff.
Nor do I believe it is a coincidence that their supposedly impartial chief counsel, Daniel Stilitz KC, emerged as a strong Labor supporter who repeatedly tweeted personal attacks on me and the government.
When I left office last year, the government was only a handful of points behind in the polls. This gap has now widened massively.
Just a few years after winning the largest majority in nearly half a century, that majority is now clearly in jeopardy.
Our party urgently needs to regain its dynamism and its belief in the potential of this country.
We need to show how we are making the best of Brexit and we need to set a pro-growth and pro-investment agenda over the coming months. We need to lower corporate and personal taxes—and not just as a campaign ploy—rather than endlessly increasing them.
We must not be afraid of being a truly conservative government.
Why have we so passively abandoned the prospect of a free trade deal with the US? Why have we discarded measures to help people with housing, abolish EU directives or promote animal welfare?
We must implement the 2019 manifesto, which was supported by 14 million people. We should remember that more than 17 million voted for Brexit.
I am now being hustled out of Parliament by a tiny handful of people with no evidence to back their claims and without the approval of even Conservative party members, let alone the wider electorate.
I believe that a dangerous and worrying precedent is being set here.
The Conservative Party has time to regain its mojo and ambition and win the next election. I had been looking forward to giving active support as a backbencher in Parliament. Harriet Harman’s committee has made it its goal to make that goal utterly untenable.
The committee’s report is riddled with inaccuracies and smacks of prejudice, but because of their absurd and unfair process, I have no formal opportunity to question anything they say.
The Privileges Committee is designed to protect Parliament’s privileges. This is a very important task. They should not use their powers – which have only recently been developed – to engage in an apparent political exchange of blows with anyone they oppose.
However, it is in no interest for the process initiated by the Committee to continue even one day longer.
So today I wrote to my association in Uxbridge and South Ruislip to say I am resigning immediately and starting an immediate by-election.
I am so sorry to be leaving my wonderful constituency. It was a great honor to serve them as Mayor and MP.
But I’m proud to say that after a cumulative 15 years, I’ve helped, among other things, build a huge new railway line on the Elizabeth Line and secured full funding for a wonderful new, state-of-the-art hospital in Hillingdon, where the appropriate Works have already started .
I also remain extremely proud of everything we have achieved during my tenure as Prime Minister: getting Brexit through, winning the largest majority in 40 years and achieving the fastest vaccine rollout of any major European country, as well as leading global support for it afford Ukraine.
Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner disagreed, saying Mr Johnson let down voters who gave him a landslide election victory in 2019, arguing he had shown he had “no respect for the British public”.
She told BBC Radio 4: “I think people put their trust in him because they thought he was about change and putting it at the heart of decision making and he really put it in the most devastating way in the world the time when they needed him the most.
“No one could have predicted what happened to this country during the pandemic, but at the time when the public needed him most, he was basically partying and lying to them while they couldn’t see their loved ones.” And that’s unforgivable .
“The fact that he fails to acknowledge the damage he has caused and has tried to stuff the Lords with people who supported and supported him at the time shows us that he actually had no respect for the British public.”
“It was all about Boris and for him it was always about Boris and people will be disappointed in his legacy.”
Yesterday Boris Johnson’s long-awaited resignation roll of honor was released and many of his Partygate allies were rewarded.
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