UK report finds Boris Johnson wilfully misled parliament over boozy COVID lockdown parties

Britain's Boris Johnson should be excluded from parliament for wilfully misleading lawmakers over rule-breaking COVID lockdown parties at his office, a committee said on Thursday in a damning report the former leader described as "rubbish".

In a more than 100-page report, the privileges committee - the main disciplinary body for lawmakers - said Johnson had wilfully mislead parliament on several occasions when he was asked about Downing Street gatherings during COVID-19 lockdowns.

The committee also accused Johnson of being "complicit in a campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation".

Johnson, one of Britain's most well-known and divisive politicians, shot back, repeating his innocence and condemning the report as "rubbish", "a lie" and "a charade", and accusing committee members of waging a vendetta against him.

In the report which details six events held at Downing Street, the committee, which has both members from the governing Conservatives and opposition Labour Party, said: "We conclude that in deliberately misleading the House Mr Johnson committed a serious contempt."

"We recommend that he should not be entitled to a former Member’s pass," it added, referring to a pass which enables former prime minister's to gain access to parliament.

The Committee found that Johnson sought to undermine the parliamentary process by deliberately misleading the House of Commons and the Committee, by breaching confidence, impugning the Committee and by being complicit in a campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation.

It said that were Johnson still a member of parliament, it would have recommended a suspension from the House for 90 days.

Johnson resigned from parliament last week after seeing an advance copy of the report, calling the inquiry a "witch hunt", a criticism he double-downed on after its publication.

"I believed, correctly, that these events were reasonably necessary for work purposes. We were managing a pandemic," he said in a statement.

"But don’t just listen to me. Take it from the Metropolitan Police. The police investigated my role at all of those events. In no case did they find that what I had done was unlawful."