ONE of Boris Johnson’s closest allies accused a committee investigating whether he misled Parliament of a “witch hunt”.
The Commons Privileges Committee is pushing ahead with an inquiry into whether the outgoing PM committed a contempt of Parliament by misleading MPs with his Partygate denials.
If he is found to have lied to Parliament, he could be hit with a Commons suspension and face a recall petition which may trigger a by-election.
But Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries tweeted: “If this witch hunt continues, it will be the most egregious abuse of power witnessed in Westminster.”
“It will cast serious doubt not only on the reputation of individual MPs sitting on the committee, but on the processes of Parliament and democracy itself”.
Lord Goldsmith, who was given a life peerage and a ministerial job by Mr Johnson in the wake of voters dumping him as the MP for Richmond Park in 2019, tweeted: “The Partygate probe is clearly rigged.
“It is a jury comprised of highly partisan, vengeful & vindictive MPs, nearly all of whom are already on the record viciously attacking the person they are judging.
“It is an obscene abuse of power.”
Labour MP Chris Bryant said: “Let’s talk about abuse of power such as illegally suspending parliament or doling out peerages to donors or tearing up the rules to protect Owen Paterson.
“The real abuse of power would be suspending an inquiry to protect your mate”.
A spokesperson for the Privileges Committee said: “There has been no change to the rules or to terms of reference. The initial report published by the Committee is about process.
“The background paper on contempt was prepared by a senior Clerk of the House of Commons.
“All Clerks are strictly politically impartial. The report also publishes the advice from distinguished former Court of Appeal Judge Sir Ernest Ryder. The Committee has published this material as part of its commitment to transparency.”