Dominic Raab twice unable to answer whether a prime minister should resign for lying

Dominic Raab twice unable to answer whether a prime minister should resign for lying

The deputy prime minister twice skirted around the question during the morning media rounds over whether or not a prime minister should resign if they’ve been found to be lying to parliament.

On Tuesday, Sky News broadcaster Kay Burley quizzed deputy prime minister Dominic Raab over partygate and claims made by Boris Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings.

Cummings said Boris Johnson “lied to parliament” when he claimed he thought the May 2020 “bring your own booze” gathering was a “work event”.

Raab also referred to the May 2020 gathering as a “party” before backtracking.

During the interview, Burley asked if Johnson should resign if it transpires that he told fibs in parliament.

She said: “You’re going to say Sue Gray, I know, but the question remains. If a prime minister lies to parliament should they step down?”

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Raab said: “Look I’m not going to speculate on hypotheticals.”

“It’s not speculating,” Burley said. “It’s very serious, deputy prime minister”.

Raab continued: “I’m confident that he’s been straightforward with the House of Commons but of course, as you rightly say, Sue Gray will look at all the various different bits of snippets and claims and assertions that have been made.”

Burley then cut to a snippet of the prime minister apologising for attending the “bring your own booze” gathering that he claims he thought was a “work event”.

When the camera cut back to the studio, Burley said: “Dominic Cummings says he’s lying”.

Raab said: “Well look, the prime minister has been very clear as you’ve heard in the House of Commons and that is the position and of course, Sue Gray will be able to…”

“You’ve said the name four times,” Burley said. “I mean it’s a bit of a running joke how many times ministers can say ‘Sue Gray’. She’s the most famous woman in Britain at the moment.”

Firing back, Raab said: “I think if you set up an investigation to look at something which people are saying, and I accept is as serious as this, it’s important to respect the integrity of it so that’s why we refer to her.”

Raab went on to dismiss Cummings’s latest claims, and said he doesn’t want to comment on “every little snippet that makes its way into the papers” because he thinks people are more focused on things that matter to their daily lives, such as ending the pandemic, the economy, and crime-fighting.

He was also grilled on the same issue by Sally Nugent on BBC Breakfast who asked Raab “if a minister lies to parliament do you believe they should resign?” The MP responded by saying that “it probably depends on the context” and that he wasn’t going to get “dragged into hypothetical questions.”

But he gave a clearer answer during a different interview a little later in the morning.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Raab said “the Cabinet code of conduct is clear and I believe in upholding it” when asked if a prime minister should step down if it’s found he lied to parliament.

He continued: “The rules are set out very clearly in relation to this, you shouldn’t mislead parliament, you certainly shouldn’t lie deliberately, mislead parliament, without correcting it immediately if you become aware of facts that change.”

Host Susanna Reid responded to say if a prime minister is shown to have lied to parliament, he should resign.

“That is clearly the case under the code for ministers,” Raab said.

During the Sky interview he was asked if he was aware of a drinking culture when he filled in for Johnson while he was ill with coronavirus for two weeks in 2020.

He said no, and added: “People were working extremely long hours, so it doesn’t surprise me if people, as you see in other walks of life, had a glass of wine or beer at the end of a very long week.”

He said this was not against the rules in a work setting.

“There was speculation that the 20th of May party was held in my honour to thank me, it’s just ridiculous,” he said.

Raab them bumbled as Burley said: “So there was a party on the 20 May then?”

“No, no, no, no, this is the claim that was made,” Raab said, before slamming it as “nonsense” and claiming he “wasn’t invited”.


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