Boris Johnson finally got to face his ‘Waterloo’ at Partygate, grilling over ABBA bash
On Wednesday, the former prime minister gives four hours of evidence to the Privileges Committee, which is investigating whether he lied to the House of Commons about Partygate.
And members are expected to ask him for details of a party that failed to investigate Sue Gray’s probe – the so-called “ABBA Party” on November 13, 2020.
Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie and a group of special advisers were in the Downing Street flat when indoor social gatherings were banned.
It was alleged that the Swedish pop legends’ hit The Winner Takes it All was blown off after Dominic Cummings was forced out of number 10.
Ms Johnson has previously denied the claims and Mr Johnson claimed it was a work meeting.
And in her report, Ms Gray said it was not “appropriate or proportionate” to investigate further after police did not fine anyone for the event.
But Westminster insiders say it has the potential to be most damaging to the ex-prime minister if the commission’s inquiry unearths new evidence of the soiree.
A Labor source said: “After dancing around the truth for what feels like an eternity, Boris Johnson finally faces his Waterloo this week.
“He just has to face it, this time he’s through it.”
An interim report published by the committee earlier this month revealed new photos of parties in Downing Street, which were not included in Ms Gray’s report – and found there was significant evidence that he had misled MPs about closed parties.
It added fuel to claims that Mr Johnson had ‘got off lightly’ in Ms Gray’s report last year, and could be in for a more turbulent time from the Privileges Committee.
Chris Bryant, chair of the Commons standards committee, said at the time that he was “baffled” that Ms Gray had not investigated the event.
Mr Johnson was re-selected as a Tory candidate for Uxbridge on Thursday night.
But his future as an MP could be jeopardized by the outcome of this week’s inquiry.
If the committee finds that Mr Johnson has committed contempt by misleading the House, they can recommend that he be suspended.
If that suspension exceeds 10 sitting days or 14 calendar days – and if MPs approve it in a vote in the House of Commons – he would have to request a recall.
Subsequently, if 10% of Mr Johnson’s voters sign a petition calling for his recall in the next six weeks, it will trigger an immediate by-election in the seat.
He would be allowed to stand in the midterm elections, but his career could be fatally damaged by the process.