Johnson was warned against claiming all guidance was followed, evidence suggests

Johnson Was Warned Against Claiming All Guidance Was Followed, Evidence Suggests Johnson Was Warned Against Claiming All Guidance Was Followed, Evidence Suggests
The former British prime minister faces a live grilling by the Privileges Committee on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: PA Images
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Sam Blewett, PA Deputy Political Editor

Former British prime minister Boris Johnson was warned against claiming that all coronavirus guidance had been followed at No 10 parties but went ahead and issued a denial, according to evidence provided to the inquiry into whether he lied to MPs.

An account to the Privileges Committee ahead of its grilling of Mr Johnson shows that senior aide Martyn Reynolds questioned whether the suggestion was realistic.

The former principal private secretary said Mr Johnson agreed to delete the mention of guidance before going on to make the denial at Prime Minister’s Questions regardless.

The cross-party committee published a cache of evidence ahead of Mr Johnson’s televised questioning that could determine his political future.


Discussions with advisers are included, as are the concerns of officials and a close look at the Covid-19 guidance and Mr Johnson’s denials as the partygate scandal emerged.


Mr Reynolds wrote that he recalled asking Mr Johnson about a proposed line to say during PMQs “suggesting that all rules and guidance had been followed”.

“He did not welcome the interruption but told me that he had received reassurances that the comms event was within the rules,” the former adviser said.

“I accepted this but questioned whether it was realistic to argue that all guidance had been followed at all times, given the nature of the working environment in No 10. He agreed to delete the reference to guidance.”

But, on December 8th, 2021, Mr Johnson went on to tell the UK's House of Commons “the guidance was followed, and the rules were followed at all times”.

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