Partygate: Boris Johnson branded ‘rogue PM unworthy of Queen’ in historian’s devastating verdict


Crossbench peer and respected historian Lord Peter Hennessy said the Prime Minister has ‘broken the law, misled Parliament, and has in effect shredded the Ministerial Code’ over Partygate

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Boris Johnson ‘unworthy of the Queen’ says Lord Hennessy

Boris Johnson has been branded a “rogue Prime Minister unworthy of the Queen” in a devastating attack by a respected historian who sits in the House of Lords.

Crossbencher Peter Hennessy, who fought for transparency over the Ministerial Code, said Boris Johnson was “sweeping aside all the conventions” in an “assault on the institutions of the state”.

Lord Hennessy said after the PM refused to resign, he had “sullied” his office “like no other, turning it into an adventure playground for one man’s narcissistic vanity.”

Saying the PM had “broken the law, misled Parliament, and has in effect shredded the Ministerial Code”, he added: “The Queen’s First Minister is now beyond doubt a rogue Prime Minister, unworthy of her, her Parliament, her people and her Kingdom.

“I cannot remember a day when I’ve been more fearful for the wellbeing of the constitution.”

The Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History, who was handed a peerage in 2010, said the PM “must have knowingly misled” Parliament when he claimed the rules were followed at all times.







Respected historian Peter Hennessy said the PM had “sullied” his office “like no other, turning it into an adventure playground for one man’s narcissistic vanity”
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He went on: “The decencies and probities and conventions of public life are not enough to constrain the ego that is currently filling No10.”

Leading historian Lord Hennessy was a journalist for the Times, Financial Times and economist before co-founding the Institute of Contemporary British History.

He has written a string of books about post-war political history.

The 75-year-old told BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House: “I think we’re in the most severe constitutional crisis involving a Prime Minister that I can remember.

“It goes to the heart of the character of the Prime Minister.

“I don’t like ranting, I don’t like being ranted at, and I’m not too keen on doing it myself.

“But I’ve been keeping a diary since Covid began, and the diary entry I penned on Tuesday, it’s one of these days when it sort of poured out as if it was volcanic lava.”







“It goes to the heart of the character of the Prime Minister,” said Lord Hennessy
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He then read out the diary entry on the radio. It said: “Tuesday 12 April 2022 will be forever remembered as a dark bleak day for British public and political life.

“It is the day Boris Johnson became the great debaser in modern times of decency in public and political life and of our constitutional conventions – our very system of government.

“The moment was captured on film for ever. Just after 6pm Johnson in a paneled room at Checkers, clutching a prepared statement which he reads to the cameras for Vicky Young of the BBC.”

Lord Hennessy wrote in his diary that after the PM claimed to be speaking in a “spirit of openness and humility”, “if there were cocks on the Checkers estate, they would have crowed at their very loudest at this point as the Prime Minister sealed his place in British history as the first law-breaker to occupy the premiership – an office he has sullied like no other, turning it into an adventure playground for one man’s narcissistic vanity.







The respected constitutional historian said Boris Johnson was unworthy of the Queen
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“Boris Johnson has broken the law, misled Parliament, and has in effect shredded the Ministerial Code which is a crucial part of the spinal cord of the constitution.

“And the great weakness of the system is that the Prime Minister, the wrong-un in chief, is the guardian of the code and with it the supposed protector of accountability and decency.







Boris Johnson has refused to resign despite being fined for breaking his own lockdown laws
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“The Queen’s First Minister is now beyond doubt a rogue Prime Minister, unworthy of her, her Parliament, her people and her Kingdom.

“I cannot remember a day when I’ve been more fearful for the wellbeing of the constitution.”

It comes after claims emerged that Boris Johnson was not only present at a lockdown leaving do for his former spin doctor but led the celebrations.

The Prime Minister is braced for more purposes for attending lockdown parties including the leaving bash for former director of communications Lee Cain in November 2020.

Mr Johnson is understood to have been present at at least six of the 12 events being investigated by the Metropolitan Police for breaking Covid rules.

The PM is expected to make a statement to Parliament on Tuesday about the end, where he is set to apologize for breaking the rules but insist he was not aware he had done so.

He will then meet all Tory MPs on Tuesday evening for a “clear the air” discussion designed to shore up support as they return to Westminster after the Easter break.

But the PM faces a vote on Wednesday on whether to he will be referred to the Commons privileges committee, which would investigate if he had misled MPs over Partygate.

If he was found to have broken the rules, Mr Johnson could be suspended from Parliament for a contempt of privilege.

Later this week, the PM will try to move on from the row with a delayed trip to India to discuss defense and trade.

Jacob Rees-Mogg later played down the “constitutional significance” of the Ministerial Code.

The Cabinet minister, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend, hit back at Lord Hennessy: “I would disagree with him on his understanding of the constitutional significance of the Ministerial Code, which he was talking about. The Ministerial Code is not a legislative part of our constitution, it is a set of guidelines produced by the Prime Minister.”

He said that when Boris Johnson told MPs rules had been followed in No 10 during Covid restrictions: “I think that the Prime Minister spoke to Parliament in good faith.”

He added: “I think that when you hear what happened on the party for which he has been fined, many people would think that they were in accordance with the rules, when they were meeting people they were with every day, who happened to wish them a happy birthday, because that was the day it was.

“I think that was a perfectly rational thing to believe. Now the police have decided otherwise and the police have an authority. But he wasn’t thinking something irrational or unreasonable, that that was within the rules.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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