Priti Patel called her former employer Boris Johnson a “political titan” after his shocking resignation from the House of Commons over Partygate.
On Friday evening, Mr. Johnson resigned as Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, prompting a by-election. The Privileges Committee was investigating whether he deceived Parliament about epidemic events at Downing Street.
The former Prime Minister called the inquiry a “witch-hunt under way, to take revenge for Brexit and ultimately reverse the 2016 referendum result”.
Ms Patel, who served as home secretary under Mr Johnson and was nominated for a damehood in the former PM’s long-awaited resignation honours list, tweeted her support for him last night, calling him “a political titan”.
She wrote: “Boris Johnson has distinguished himself in his country and constituency. He led the world in backing Ukraine, completed Brexit, and was our most electorally successful Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher. Boris is a political legend.
Other MPs praised Mr. Johnson on Twitter.
“Very sad tonight as we lose a political giant from the Commons, a man that will go down in the history books as one of the greatest political leaders in my lifetime,” commented Workington Conservative MP Mark Jenkinson.
“Against all odds, an 80-seat Conservative majority turned Workington Man out to vote for me and delivered Brexit. Heroes include Boris Johnson.
When the witch hunt is forgotten, future generations will be amazed. Brexit and covid maddened the nation.”
Sir James Duddridge, Conservative MP for Rochford and Southend East, wrote: “History will recognise the great work Boris did on Brexit, Ukraine and Covid.
He towers over minnows. Chapters finish here, not books. Boris will be discussed in the following days, months, and years.”
Mr. Johnson told MPs that “all rules were followed” in the lockdown-breaking Downing Street events.
“But they have wilfully chosen to ignore the truth because from the outset their purpose has not been to discover the truth, or genuinely to understand what was in my mind when I spoke in the Commons,” he said.
The committee will finish its probe after his resignation as MP.
A spokeswoman said, “The committee has followed the procedures and mandate of the House at all times and will continue to do so.
“Mr. Johnson has deviated from House processes and impugned House integrity with his statement.
“The committee will meet on Monday to conclude the inquiry and publish its report promptly.”
Some Opposition MPs applauded Mr. Johnson, while others criticized his resignation.
Mr. Johnson’s claim that the Commons’ Privileges Committee’s Partygate probe was unfair was “tosh,” according to Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner.
Sir Chris Bryant, the Labour head of the Privileges Committee who recused himself from the Boris Johnson probe, claimed the former prime minister may be charged with contempt of Parliament following his “narcissistic rant”.
Sir Chris told BBC Radio 4’s Today program, “The report still stands and will have to go to the House.”
“They may want to conclude that there has been an additional contempt of Parliament by the way that Boris Johnson has behaved in the last 24 hours and in the attacks on the committee, which are in effect an attack on the whole House,” he said.
“It’s clear that Boris Johnson despises Parliament.”
After many talks with his loyal supporter Nadine Dorries, who unexpectedly resigned from her Mid-Bedfordshire seat yesterday, he decided to retire.