UK’s Boris Johnson offers apology after lockdown parties fine
Since the news broke that the prime minister would be fined in the wake of Partygate, several MPs have spoken out in his defence.
And to no one’s surprise, one of the first MPs to raise their head above the parapet was Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.
In a tweet, she said: “PM has been clear about what happened on 19th June 2020 & offered a full apology. It was a brief gathering in the Cabinet Room, less than 10 minutes during a busy working day.
“PM is at his best when delivering on the priorities of the British people which he will continue to do.”
The fixed penalty notices doled out to Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie, and Rishi Sunak yesterday related to the June party, which was a birthday bash for Johnson’s 56th in which he was “ambushed with cake”.
In Dorries’s tweet, she parroted Downing Street’s claim that he attended for less than 10 minutes. The gathering lasted for between 20 to 30 minutes, ITV reported at the time.
But the reporter who first broke the story about Johnson’s bash in January, ITV’s UK Editor Paul Brand, responded: “The police say the PM was at the party between 1400 and 1500 - i.e. as long as an hour. Nadine Dorries is repeating the PM's line that it was only 10 minutes.”
The police say the PM was at the party between 1400 and 1500 - i.e. as long as an hour. Nadine Dorries is repeating the PM's line that it was only 10 minutes.https://twitter.com/NadineDorries/status/1513915004164227079\u00a0\u2026
So Boris Johnson clearly understood the rules about parties. He told this seven-year old that she was doing the right thing by NOT having a party. Wouldn't it be wonderful if this letter from a seven-year old brought the PM to his senses now. RESIGN.https://twitter.com/BorisJohnson/status/1241348429546217475\u00a0\u2026
As a little kid, did you used to dream:\n\n"When I grow up and reach the peak of my career, I'll be defending the crimes of a disgraced journalist, so sycophantically that people start wondering if I'm simply a piece of performance-art"?
A few hours later Dorries again tweeted: “Both the Chancellor and the PM worked relentlessly and daily, on furlough, testing, vaccines, the economy - they led us through the pandemic to the place we are now, thriving and living life without restrictions.
“If it had been left to Starmer, we would still be in lockdown now.”
Dorries isn’t the only top Tory to defend Johnson.
When asked if he thought Johnson’s position was untenable, backbench MP Nigel Mills said: “Yeah, I think for a prime minister in office to be given a fine and accept it and pay it for breaking the laws that he introduced… is just an impossible position.
“We have every right to expect higher standards of people making these laws… so the idea that he can survive having broken one and accepted he has broken [it], I just think is impossible.”