Prime Minister Boris Johnson has addressed accusations that a Christmas party took place at Number 10, Downing Street last year, days after London entered tier 3 restrictions.
Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions, Johnson ‘apologised unreservedly’ for the impression given by the video of spokesperson Allegra Stratton, but claimed he had been ‘repeatedly assured there was no party and that no COVID rules were broken’.
Johnson, who claims to have been left ‘sickened and furious’ by the clip, stated that he has now asked Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to establish all facts and report back to him as soon as possible, adding that there will be ‘disciplinary action for all involved’ if the rumours are found to be true.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer asked the PM if a party was held at Number 10 while tier 3 restrictions were in place last year. Asserting that members of the public believed the PM was ‘taking them for fools’, Sir Keir added, ‘They’re right aren’t they?’
Sir Keir remarked that the PM’s response ‘is so desperate and even his own side can see it’, suggesting that TV presenters Ant and Dec were more ahead of him on this issue.
In response, Johnson accused Sir Keir of ‘playing politics’, stating, ‘I don’t think the public do want to see confidence in these measures undermined.’ He added that the government is ‘taking the steps necessary to protect the public […] and roll out the vaccinations rather than focusing on events from a year ago’.
Sir Keir went on to describe the notion of police not prosecuting people for crimes committed a year ago as ‘nonsense’, noting that there is currently many ongoing cases connected to COVID breaches committed last year.
SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford said that Johnson had ‘no dignity’ and urged him to resign, noting that this was a ‘moment of moral reckoning’.
Blackford said he had ‘nothing left to say to a man who we simply cannot trust’, encouraging members of the house to act:
He can no longer lead on the most pressing issue facing these islands. The PM has a duty, the only right and moral choice to him, it is for his resignation, when can we expect it?
When Labour MP for Hornsey and Wood Green Catherine West asked whether he could tell them whether there was a separate party on November 13, as alleged by Dominic Cummings, Johnson said, ‘no’, reiterating that all guidance was followed.
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