LONDON (AP) — Former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson shocked Britain on Friday by quitting as a lawmaker after being told he will be sanctioned for misleading Parliament.
Johnson quit after receiving the results of an investigation by lawmakers over misleading statements he made to Parliament about “partygate,” a series of rule-breaking government parties during the pandemic.
In a lengthy resignation statement, Johnson accused opponents of trying to drive him out — and hinted that he might try to return.
“It is very sad to be leaving Parliament — at least for now,” he said.
Johnson said he had “received a letter from the Privileges Committee making it clear — much to my amazement — that they are determined to use the proceedings against me to drive me out of Parliament.”
He called the committee investigating him a “kangaroo court.”
“Their purpose from the beginning has been to find me guilty, regardless of the facts,” Johnson said.
The resignation will trigger a special election to replace Johnson as a lawmaker for a suburban London seat.
Johnson, whose career has been a roller coaster of scandals and comebacks, led the Conservatives to a landslide victory in 2019 but was forced out by his own party less than three years later.
He had been awaiting the outcome of an investigation by a House of Commons standards committee over misleading statements he made to Parliament about a slew of gatherings in government buildings in 2020 and 2021 that breached pandemic lockdown rules.
Police eventually issued 126 fines over the late-night soirees, boozy parties and “wine time Fridays,” including one to Johnson, and the scandal helped hasten the end of his premiership.
The committee had been expected to publish its report in the next few weeks, and Johnson could have faced suspension from the House of Commons if he was found to have lied deliberately.