LONDON - Britain's former prime minister Boris Johnson angrily quit as a member of parliament on Friday, claiming he had been forced out in a stitch-up by his political opponents.
The 58-year-old populist politician has been under investigation by a cross-party committee about whether he repeatedly lied to parliament over Covid lockdown-breaking parties when he was in office.
In evidence earlier this year, he angrily insisted he had not.
But as the committee prepares to make public its findings, he said they had contacted him "making it clear... they are determined to use the proceedings against me to drive me out of parliament".
The Privileges Committee, which has a majority of MPs from his own Conservative party, has powers to impose sanctions for misleading parliament, including suspension.
Ordinarily, suspension of more than 10 working days leads to a by-election in the MP's constituency.
Johnson, though, pre-empted any finding -- or the consequences of a humiliating fight to remain an MP in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency in northwest London where he holds a slim majority of just over 7,000 -- by quitting.
He denounced the committee, chaired by veteran opposition Labour MP Harriet Harman, as a "kangaroo court".
"It is very sad to be leaving Parliament -- at least for now -- but above all I am bewildered and appalled that I can be forced out, anti-democratically... with such egregious bias," he said.
The committee's report, which has not been published, was "riddled with inaccuracies and reeks of prejudice", he said, complaining he had "no formal ability to challenge anything they say".
Their "purpose from the beginning has been to find me guilty, regardless of the facts", he added.
Responding to the resignation, the Privileges Committee said Johnson "impugned the integrity of the House by his statement".
The committee said it would meet on Monday to conclude its inquiry and would publish its report "promptly".