The showdown at Portcullis House brought two political big beasts face to face.Committee chairman Harriet Harman was clearly irked by her bombastic wi
The showdown at Portcullis House brought two political big beasts face to face.
Boris Johnson claimed to have ‘utmost respect’ for the Labour veteran before tearing into her for ‘plainly and wrongly prejudging’ him by comments she had made ‘before reading the evidence’.
She pursed her lips as he offered to ‘put your early remarks down to the cut and thrust of politics’ and proceed.
Boris Johnson gives evidence at the Partygate committee hearing which took place today
But Ms Harman’s thinly disguised dislike of Mr Johnson came out repeatedly during the testy evidence session.
His explanation to Sir Bernard Jenkin about social distancing not being easy in the ‘higgledy-piggledy’ corridors of 10 Downing Street prompted her to interject: ‘We are not talking about higgledy-piggledy corridors. Next question from Sir Bernard!’
Mr Johnson’s easy manner – at one stage he breezily informed her that ‘much of this interrogation is theoretically irrelevant, but I’m going to take that in my stride’ – did nothing to improve Ms Harman’s mood.
More than once, she gave credence to Mr Johnson’s suspicions that she had already made up her mind about his fate.
She told him she found it ‘hard’ to understand the idea that he needed an ‘assurance’ from officials about an event he attended and had seen ‘with your own eyes’.
He looked baffled as she offered a metaphor about ‘going at 100mph’ and seeing this on a speedometer ‘with your own eyes’.
Labour MP Harriet Harman chaired the cross-party committee of MPs examinig the scandal