During ‘partygate’, number 10 repeatedly denied claims that the rules were broken
It’s been tough times for Boris Johnson with a police investigation underway and civil servant Sue Gray’s report on various Downing Street lockdown parties coming up.
Reports suggest that at least 12 accused parties was investigated by Gray’s team, events included a “Bring Your Wine” party at garden number 10 in May 2020 and a surprise birthday celebration for the next month’s PM.
On Tuesday, Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick announced the launch of a criminal investigation into eight specific events – an abrupt change to the Met which previously said its policy was does not conduct retroactive investigations of lock violations.
Time now reports that Johnson may be interviewed by police “with caution or as a witness” due to the evidence Gray delivered to detectives. This would make him the first sitting prime minister to be interviewed by police since Tony Blair in 2006, who was questioned as a witness as part of a cash honor scandal.
‘All instructions are fully followed’
Throughout all the various accusations of “partisanship,” Number 10 has consistently denied claims that any rules have been broken.
When the first story is broken by Daily Mirror in November 2021, claiming that the Prime Minister and his staff had attended 10th place parties before Christmas 2020, Johnson told the House of Commons that “all instructions have been fully followed” .
He declined to explain his account of the allegations in an interview with Sky News a day later, instead saying: “I told you and what I want to repeat… that the instructions are there. And I really want people to understand this.”
Speaking to the BBC a few days later, Johnson repeated the same plea. “I can tell you these principles are always followed,” he said. “We are focusing on the issues that are important to me, above all, fighting crime – and I believe those are important to the British public as well.”
Photo ‘shows people talking about work’
When asked by journalists about these images, Johnson said they showed “people working, talking about work”, reports BBC. When asked as a follow-up question whether it is acceptable for people to drink while at work, he replied: “I said what I had to say about it.”
Earlier that day, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told BBC Breakfast that “sometimes after a hectic work day people have a glass of wine – it’s not against the rules”.
‘Thought it was a work event’
Eyebrows rose further when Johnson insisted that he thought the party he attended in the Rose garden in Downing Street on May 20, 2020 was “a business event”. Sources then said Time that he was seen “roaming around people happily shaking hands” on this occasion.
“I fully believe this is a business event,” he told the House of Commons. Johnson added that he went back to his office “25 minutes later to get back to work” after thanking teams of employees – suggesting that the short period constitutes an excuse.
The Prime Minister said that “with deep awareness” he “should have brought people back inside and” realized that – even if it could technically be said to be within the guidelines – it would there are millions upon millions of people who simply won’t see that way.”
At Prime Minister’s Questions, Labor leader Keir Starmer described Johnson’s plea as “so ridiculous that it really upsets the British public”.
Can’t see or receive email
Invitations to the garden event have been emailed to more than 100 people by email from Johnson’s chief personal secretary, Martin Reynolds, including advisers, keynote writers and door staff. ITV News.
But despite the email coming from Johnson’s private secretary and the event being held in his back garden, No 10 said the Prime Minister had not been informed of the party in advance, a statement Johnson later backed up. in an interview with Sky News.
Downing Street also denied that Johnson was warned by two senior staff to cancel the drinks event, saying this was “not true”. Guardians reported.
‘Nobody told me it was against the rules’
The Prime Minister then said to Sky News political editor, Beth Rigby that he didn’t know that the drinking party in the garden was against the rules.
“Obviously, nobody told me or said this was something against the rules… or that we were doing something that wasn’t a business event,” he said. “Honestly, I can’t imagine why it was allowed to go first.”
But Starmer questioned this defense in the House of Commons. “Since the prime minister wrote down the rules, why does he think this new defense will work for him?” he asks. The Prime Minister replied: “We have to wait for the results of the investigation.
‘Ambush with cake’
In what BBC’s Adam Fleming Described as “a new phase in the way the government handles these allegations”, No 10 admitted that staffers had “briefly gathered” in the cabinet room to celebrate the 56th birthday of Mr. Johnson on June 19, 2020.
But Northern Ireland Minister Conor Burns – an ally of the Prime Minister – had a very specific view of the event. In an interview with Channel 4 News, the Tory MP described Johnson as “ambushed with a pie”. Journalist Cathy Newman responded: “It’s just the way you’re all trying to run away and protect him.
Food writer Nigella Lawson tweeted that she was considering putting the term “ambushed by cake” as the title of her next cookbook.
Rules ‘broken in most homes’
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s AFTERNOON on Tuesday, Tory MP Crispin Blunt defended the Prime Minister by accusing the British public of “[losing] our view on this”.
Blunt tried to defend the No.10 parties by suggesting that others didn’t follow the rules at the time. “It is very likely that in most homes and inside most businesses, and within most public administrations, people may not have followed the rules completely,” he said. .
A poll from YouGovHowever, it was found that of the 2,397 UK adults surveyed, the vast majority (68%) said they had never knowingly broken the rules at any point in 2020.
“Conservative MP Crispin Blunt has defended Boris Johnson, saying Covid rules have been broken in ‘most homes,'” the company polled on Twitter wrote. “The public will beg to differ,” the tweet added.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/politics/955540/defences-of-boris-johnson-downing-street-parties ‘Ambushed by the pie’: a lot of defense by Boris Johnson