MPs who are investigating whether Boris Johnson misled parliament over Partygate were given access to Downing Street last night, ITV News has been told. Sources revealed that the privileges committee - chaired by Labour's Harriet Harman but including four Conservative members - did a site visit to look at the places where the allegations took place. I understand that the aim was to help the Partygate inquiry team better understand the layout of the building and the context of the events which are within the scope of the inquiry. Mr Johnson is facing questions over how much he knew about several unlawful parties that went ahead - with officials bringing in a suitcase of booze, DJing and taking part in karaoke - despite strict Covid rules.
The MPs are investigating whether the former PM misled parliament by repeatedly denying - on the floor of the House of Commons - that Covid laws were broken in No 10. Mr Johnson has denied misleading Parliament about the alleged breaches. Although no one has revealed the exact details of last night's tour, presumably the team tried to establish how far Mr Johnson's flat and office was from the gatherings, and whether he would have seen or heard what went on. The committee previously requested a number of documents.
The inquiry has caused huge controversy among Mr Johnson supporters in the Conservative Party with Nadine Dorries branding it a "witch-hunt" and warning that "it will be the most egregious abuse of power witnessed in Westminster". One Tory MP - Laura Farris - stepped down from the group amid intense pressure, but the inquiry is continuing under Harman and has seven members including Tories Charles Walker, Sir Bernard Jenkin, Alberto Costa and Andy Carter. It seems the committee members have agreed not to talk to the media - but I've managed to confirm from two sources that the Downing Street visit took place.
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