FORMER prime minister Boris Johnson has claimed that the MPs probing whether he misled parliament over the following of Covid rules in No 10 have no remit to investigate guidance.

Instead, in a 52-page defence dossier published on Tuesday, Johnson claims that the investigating committee "unilaterally" decided to expand its own mandate.

He claims that the committee – which is made of four Tory MPs, two Labour MPs, and one SNP MP – was only tasked with probing legally binding Covid regulations.

The document states: “The scope of the committee’s remit is exclusively concerned with assertions regarding compliance with the legally binding regulations, not the guidance…

“It is not clear what subsequently transpired to embolden the committee to seek unilaterally to expand its mandate. It is obviously inappropriate, impermissible, and unfair.”

READ MORE: Boris Johnson's latest U-turn shows he's panicking his career could be over

The dossier was published ahead of Johnson's appearance in front of the Privileges Committee on Wednesday. Elsewhere in the document, the former Tory leader accepted that he misled the House of Commons over partygate – but insisted he did not do so on purpose.

The document spells out the Tory MP’s reasoning for believing he did “not intentionally or recklessly” mislead parliament when he made statements such as: “I am sure that whatever happened, the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times.”

Elsewhere, Johnson accepted that denying there had been law-breaking events in No 10 during his tenure turned out to be untrue, but said he corrected the record at the “earliest opportunity”.

The National: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to get fitter after becoming seriously ill with coronavirus. But Chloe Smith's husband dismissed the PM's near-death experience and called him "stupid". Photo: PA Wire

However, he insisted there is “no evidence at all that supports an allegation that I intentionally or recklessly misled the House”.

“So I accept that the House of Commons was misled by my statements that the Rules and Guidance had been followed completely at No 10,” he wrote.

“But when the statements were made, they were made in good faith and on the basis of what I honestly knew and believed at the time.

“I did not intentionally or recklessly mislead the House on December 1 2021, December 8 2021, or on any other date. I would never have dreamed of doing so.”

He insisted that, other than the “assertions of the discredited Dominic Cummings”, his former chief aide, there is “not a single document that indicates that I received any warning or advice that any event broke” the rules.

Johnson rejected the committee’s belief that the evidence strongly suggested breaches of coronavirus rules would have been “obvious” to the then-prime minister.

He called the inquiry’s allegation “illogical”, arguing that some of those who attended the events “wished me ill and would denounce me if I concealed the truth”.

“Far from achieving a ‘cover-up’, I would have known that any deception on my part would lead to instant exposure. This would have been senseless and immediately self-defeating,” he wrote.

He said it was “implausible” that he would have known the parties photographed and “immortalised” by his official photographer were rule-breaking.

If Johnson fails to convince the committee he did not deliberately mislead the Commons, he could be found to have committed contempt of Parliament.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf suggests rivals will 'lose SNP support' if elected party leader

A suspension of more than 10 days could result in a high-profile by-election in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat.

The full House of Commons would vote on any recommendations.

Rishi Sunak has committed to giving his MPs a free vote over his predecessor’s fate, but the Prime Minister has declined to reject claims from some of Johnson’s allies that the process is a “witch hunt”.

They have questioned the role of Labour grandee Harriet Harman chairing the Tory-majority committee and the use of the Sue Gray report, now she (below) plans to join Keir Starmer’s office.

The National: Sue Gray

Johnson received one of the 126 fines issued by Scotland Yard during its investigation into lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street and Whitehall while he was prime minister.

An estimated £220,000 of taxpayers’ money has been allocated for his legal bills.

An interim report by the committee earlier this month said evidence strongly suggested breaches of coronavirus rules would have been “obvious” to the then-prime minister.

The Privileges Committee is considering at least four occasions when Johnson may have misled MPs with his assurances that lockdown rules were followed.

The former prime minister is to appear before the seven MPs on the committee at 2pm on March 22. In the evidence, Johnson said he would “participate fully” in the hearing and answer any questions he is asked.

The National:

SNP Westminster Depute Leader Mhairi Black MP said: "It has taken more than a year, but Boris Johnson has finally admitted what we all knew already that he lied to parliament and he lied to the country.

"Boris Johnson has shown no humility whatsoever for the families who lost loved ones during the pandemic and made incredible sacrifices to protect everyone around them. At the same time the former Prime Minister was partying away in Downing Street.

"He is the one who made the rules, but he thought he was above them.

"Rishi Sunak must remove the whip from Boris Johnson if the privileges committee finds him guilty of deliberately misleading parliament."