An investigation into whether Boris Johnson misled parliament over partygate will be delayed after a hold up with evidence from Downing Street.
The former prime minister has faced accusations he made false statements at the despatch box about the lockdown gatherings, including when he told MPs “all guidance was followed in Number 10”.
After a vote in the Commons last June, the privileges committee launched a probe into the allegations and was due to begin oral evidence sessions in the autumn, with Mr Johnson to be called as a witness.
But Number 10 appears to have has dragged its feet over sending the group a raft of documents, only passing the evidence on four months after it was requested, meaning it now needs to be gone through before evidence sessions begin.
A spokesperson for the seven-strong panel said: “The committee has been in continued conversation with the government to obtain evidence for the inquiry.
“It requested material from the government in July, which was supplied in full last Friday [18 November].
“The committee is analysing the submitted material. It may have further requests to make for additional information.”
The committee, which is chaired by Labour’s Harriet Harman, said it had been meeting every week that the House had been sitting since June “in order to establish processes, collect and analyse the evidence”.
The spokesperson also said the members “remain committed to progressing the inquiry expeditiously”.
Stories began to emerge in the media about rule-breaking gatherings in December 2021, and Mr Johnson was regularly thrown questions about it in the Commons.
The then-PM told MPs he had been “repeatedly assured that the rules were not broken” and that “guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times”.
However, four months later he, his wife Carrie, and his then-Chancellor all received fixed penalty notices for having a birthday party in the cabinet room during lockdown.
A total of 126 fines were handed out by the Metropolitan Police for lockdown breaking gatherings across Downing Street and Whitehall.