Shapps incorrectly claims Johnson was grieving mother's death during No 10 party
Grant Shapps is the Tory MP who’s been asked to go on the morning TV circuit to defend Boris Johnson following the publication of new images at a Downing Street party – and it’s fair to say he’s not exactly doing a great job.
ITV News published the pictures of Johnson raising a glass during a leaving party yesterday and claimed they were taken at the leaving drinks for then-director of communications Lee Cain on November 13th 2020.
Appearing on Sky News this morning, Shapps claimed that Johnson was “clearly not partying” when he raised the glass of wine in the picture.
When asked whether the PM misled Parliament after denying any rules were broken on November 13th, he said: “The question was was he down there partying - no, clearly not.
“He’d gone by to say thanks and raise a glass to a colleague who was leaving.”
Shapps went on to say that because Johnson had his ministerial red box with him he was "probably" heading to do some work.
Shapps' explanation left some social media users confusedGetty Images
Perhaps the strangest moment, though, came when he tried to explain Johnson’s behaviour by saying that he “lost his mum during the period”.
Charlotte Johnson Wahl died “suddenly and peacefully” in September 2021 at the age of 79 – a whole 10 months after the party in question on November 13 2020.
Shapps said: “I don’t think these things should have happened, but I think it’s probably worth recalling in context that throughout this period the Prime Minister himself had been extremely ill, had a close brush with coronavirus, he lost his mum during the period, he was dealing with the pandemic.
“By the looks of things he goes and thanks somebody who’s leaving, he raises his glass to them.
He added: “And as I say, I - having like everyone in this country lived through coronavirus and in many cases made enormous sacrifices - don’t enjoy seeing pictures that suggest anything else.
“But this is well-covered territory, we’ve seen this, we’ve heard about this, the only difference is seeing the photograph.”