Boris Johnson’s supporters last night launched a desperate bid to undermine the Commons inquiry into whether he lied over Partygate.
Priti Patel, the former home secretary, bizarrely claimed the investigation will “put our democracy in a very, very bad light”.
Mr Johnson faces a four-hour grilling on Wednesday when he will face questions about whether he tried to cover up the truth about lockdown-busting parties in No10.
Ms Patel told GB News: “I think actually, it's going to put our democracy in a very, very bad light. Where is democracy quite frankly, right now?”
She added: “The lack of transparency, the lack of accountability. I think there is a culture of collusion quite frankly, involved here.”
Ms Patel’s made her comments about democracy even though MPs unanimously passed a motion to set up the Privileges Committee investigation last April.
The seven members of the cross-party committee are elected by MPs.
Any sanction against Mr Johnson recommended by the committee would need to be approved by MPs.
If he is found to have deliberately lied about what he knew, he could be suspended from the Commons - which could even trigger a by-election in his seat.
Downing Street repeatedly dismissed the media's revelations about lockdown breaking parties, which later led to police fines for Mr Johnson and the new PM Rishi Sunak.
Rishi Sunak earlier this week said he won't order Tory MPs to go easy on Mr Johnson when they interrogate him over Partygate lies.
An initial report by the committee said rule-breaking would have been "obvious" to the former PM - because he was at some of the gatherings.
WhatsApp messages seen by MPs show that No10 officials were worried about potential leaks of images showing Mr Johnson at a “piss up”.
His comms chief was "struggling" to see how parties were within the rules and said one excuse "blows another great gaping hole in the PM's account".
An unrepentant Mr Johnson insisted there was "no evidence" to show he knew rules were being broken - despite the committee saying it should have been "obvious" to him as he even attended some of the bashes.
Priti Patel needs to show allegiance to her former leader in the same way he protected her after a bullying enquiry found her behaviour questionable whilst in office.