Former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is stepping down as a member of parliament with immediate effect.
Johnson made the move as he hit out at an investigation by the House of Commons’ privileges committee, which is examining whether the ex-prime minister knowingly misled parliament about COVID rule-breaking parties held in Downing Street.
The resignation of Johnson, the Tory MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, will trigger a by-election in a seat he held in 2019 by 7,210 votes.
In a statement, Johnson said the committee — whose findings have yet to be published but which can recommend a suspension from the Commons — has “still not produced a shred of evidence that I knowingly or recklessly misled” MPs.
He added: “They know perfectly well that when I spoke in the Commons I was saying what I believed sincerely to be true and what I had been briefed to say, like any other minister. They know that I corrected the record as soon as possible; and they know that I and every other senior official and minister — including the current Prime Minister and then occupant of the same building, Rishi Sunak — believed that we were working lawfully together.
“I have been an MP since 2001. I take my responsibilities seriously. I did not lie, and I believe that in their hearts the Committee know it. But they have wilfully chosen to ignore the truth because from the outset their purpose has not been to discover the truth, or genuinely to understand what was in my mind when I spoke in the Commons.
“Their purpose from the beginning has been to find me guilty, regardless of the facts. This is the very definition of a kangaroo court.”