New poll finds vast majority of Britons think Boris Johnson is dishonest
The vast majority of Britons think Boris Johnson is dishonest, a new poll has found after the former prime minister insisted he did not lie to MPs over Partygate during a heated inquiry hearing.
The YouGov poll found that 72 per cent of Britons think Mr Johnson is dishonest, while 51 per cent of Conservative voters and 59 per cent of pro-Brexit voters polled believe the same.
It comes after the former prime minister faced a tense showdown at the Commons Privileges Committee on Wednesday over whether he lied to MPs with his denials of lockdown-busting parties held in Downing Street.
The three-hour grilling saw Mr Johnson accuse the panel of “complete nonsense” after Tory veteran Sir Bernard Jenkin suggested his former boss did not seek “proper” advice before telling MPs that no parties took place in Downing Street during the pandemic.
Mr Johnson swore on the Bible to tell the truth, before saying: “I’m here to say to you, hand on heart, I did not lie to the House.”
He also told the inquiry that if it is accusing him of lying, then it is also levelling the same charge at civil servants, advisers and MPs, adding: “I don’t think you seriously mean to accuse those individuals of lying and I don’t think you can seriously mean to accuse me of lying.”
But Mr Johnson has faced calls to correct his testimony at the committee after he claimed a No 10 party marked the exit of a top civil servant who did not resign until a month later.
He told MPs the “bring your own booze” garden party on 20 May 2020 had been aimed at motivating staff because cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill had quit - but he did not resign until 29 June.
If the Tory majority committee finds he deliberately misled the House, he could be suspended as an MP – potentially triggering a by-election in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat.
The poll, which surveyed 4,147 Britons, found that 82 per cent of people living in Scotland think Mr Johnson is dishonest, while 75 per cent of Londoners and 74 per cent of people living in the north of England think he is not being truthful.
The poll did not include Northern Ireland, but found that 71 per cent of people living in Wales think the Tory MP is dishonest. The south of England and the Midlands were the least likely regions to think Mr Johnson is dishonest, but 70 per cent of participants polled in the regions respectively said he is dishonest.
The over 65s were the least likely age group to think Mr Johnson is dishonest, with 59 per cent voting as such, compared to 78 per cent of 25 to 49-year-olds, 75 per cent of 50 to 64-year-olds and 74 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds.
Overall, 13 per cent of participants polled said the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip is honest, with 15 per cent saying they don’t know.
Ahead of the Commons showdown, the committee published its “core bundle” of evidence, which includes a No 10 official claiming that Mr Johnson “had the opportunity to shut down” lockdown gatherings in Downing Street but “allowed the culture to continue”.
Other key claims made against the ex-PM in the evidence included Simon Case, Mr Johnson’s cabinet secretary, and Jack Doyle, then-comms chief, insisting they never told Mr Johnson Covid rules were followed.
Mr Johnson has always maintained his innocence, refuting any accusation that he “knowingly or recklessly misled Parliament”.
The Independent wants to know what you think. Did Mr Johnson deliberately mislead parliament over his knowledge of the rule-breaking parties in No 10? Take part in our poll to have your say.