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UK ex-PM Johnson to give 'partygate' inquiry evidence

Former UK prime minister Boris Johnson will give evidence later this month to an inquiry into whether he intentionally misled parliament about illegal parties at his Downing Street office and residence during COVID-19 lockdowns.

In an update of its work which will be used as a basis for its questioning of the former leader, a panel of MP known formally as the Privileges Committee said it had collected evidence from multiple witnesses about the parties, but that Johnson had as yet to provide them with a written submission.

Despite the report being an update rather than a final conclusion, Johnson was quick to say it cleared him of the charge of committing "contempt of parliament," repeating his argument that he was not aware that any gatherings were in breach of his own coronavirus rules.

"Mr Johnson has accepted the Committee's invitation to give oral evidence in public in the week beginning 20 March," the Committee of Privileges said in a statement.

So-called partygate ultimately led to the downfall of Johnson, after months of reports that he alongside other senior government figures had been present at parties when most of the rest of the United Kingdom were forced to stay at home.