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Boris Johnson says he was “forced out” following surprise resignation as MP

Boris Johnson has stepped down as a Tory MP after claiming he was “forced out of Parliament” over Partygate.

The ex-PM saw in advance a report by the Commons Privileges Committee investigating if he misled the Commons over Downing Street lockdown parties.

His resignation now triggers a by-election in his marginal seat.

The Privileges Committee said Mr Johnson had called into question the integrity of the House of Commons.

The MP-led committee – which has a majority of Conservative MPs – said it would conclude its inquiry on Monday and “publish its report promptly”.

But in an explosive and lengthy resignation statement issued on Friday, Mr Johnson described the committee as a “kangaroo court” whose purpose “from the beginning has been to find me guilty, regardless of the facts”.

The Uxbridge and Ruislip MP accused the investigation of trying to “drive me out of Parliament”, adding the report he had received was “riddled with inaccuracies and reeks of prejudice”.

“They have still not produced a shred of evidence that I knowingly or recklessly misled the Commons,” he said.

He also accused its chairwoman, Labour’s Harriet Harman, of “egregious bias”, saying he was “bewildered and appalled” at how he was being forced out.

The ex-prime minister previously admitted misleading Parliament when he gave evidence to the committee in a combative hearing in March – but denied doing it on purpose.

He said social distancing had not been “perfect” at gatherings in Downing Street during Covid lockdowns but insisted the guidelines, as he understood them, were followed at all times.

In Friday’s shock resignation letter, Mr Johnson also attacked the government’s direction, saying “we must not be afraid to be properly Conservative” and warning the party’s majority was at risk.

“We need to show how we are making the most of Brexit and we need in the next months to be setting out a pro-growth and pro-investment agenda,” Mr Johnson argued.

“Why have we so passively abandoned the prospect of a Free Trade Deal with the US? Why have we junked measures to help people into housing or to scrap EU directives or to promote animal welfare?”

It was a direct aim at Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – hours after he stepped off a plane from Washington, where Mr Sunak was not talking about a free trade agreement with US.

And Mr Johnson’s statement was an attempt to rally Brexiteers in his party, suggesting his demise was driven by a motivation to “reverse the 2016 referendum result”.

The statement contained further criticism of former senior civil servant Sue Gray, who investigated lockdown gatherings at Number 10.

“I am afraid I no longer believe that it is any coincidence” that she will soon become “chief of staff designate” of the Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer, Mr Johnson wrote.

Ending his 1,000-word statement, Mr Johnson said he was “very sad to be leaving Parliament” before adding – “at least for now” – for anyone thinking he is about to retreat into obscurity.

Mr Johnson’s exit will trigger a by-election in his west London constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip – which he held with a 7,000 vote majority in the 2019 election.