Boris Johnson says sorry for 'inadvertently' misleading parliament at 'Partygate' hearing
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he was sorry for "inadvertently" misleading parliament at a hearing as part of a probe into rule-breaking Covid-19 lockdown parties.
British parliament on Wednesday opened the inquisition of Johnson over "Partygate", that could decide his political future.
"I apologise. I apologise for inadvertently misleading this House (of Commons). But to say that I did it recklessly or deliberately is completely untrue, as the evidence shows," he said in his defence to parliament's Committee of Privileges at the hearing.
Opening the crunch hearing by a House of Commons committee, the ex-Conservative leader swore an oath on the Bible to tell the "whole truth and nothing but the truth".
He insisted that everything he had told the Commons regarding serial partying in 10 Downing Street, breaking the lockdown legislation he introduced, was done "in good faith and based on what I honestly believed at the time".
Harriet Harman, the chairwoman of the privileges committee, said at the opening that the MPs wanted to establish whether Johnson "told the truth to the best of his knowledge".
The case went to the "heart of our democracy", added Harman, a veteran member of the Labour opposition party. The rest of the seven-strong committee has a majority drawn from Johnson's Conservative party.
Rejecting the contention of Johnson loyalists that the hearing amounts to a "kangaroo court", Harman said the MPs were acting only "in the interests of the House" and not from any partisan motivation.
Johnson's supporters insist he was betrayed by Conservative colleagues when he was forced out of office last year and are campaigning for his return ahead of a general election likely next year.
But opinion polls suggest that Johnson remains toxic for a large swathe of the electorate, and the hearing by the cross-party committee threatens to reopen old wounds just as his successor, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, tries to heal Conservative fortunes.