DUP’s Jim Shannon breaks down over mother-in-law who ‘died alone’ of Covid
Boris Johnson faces tough PMQs later in the day, with Labor leader Keir Starmer expected to question the prime minister over reports he was attending an illegal party in the yard of No. 10 during the height of the initial lockdown.
The mounting scandal has led some Tories to turn against Johnson, including Conservative MP Nigel Mills, who said the prime minister’s stance would be “untenable” if he broke the law.
This comes as the independent heard claims that Downing Street staff were being told to “clean up” their phones by removing possible evidence about parties being held at number 10.
Commenting on this exclusive story, Peter Cardwell, former special counsel to both Boris Johnson and Theresa May, said: “If someone removes information, it’s highly unethical and potentially criminal, and they absolutely shouldn’t be doing that,” he said.
Downing Street has so far declined to comment on reports that 100 people had been invited to a gathering on May 20, 2020. It was reported that 30 people attended the event, with multiple sources saying the Prime Minister was there.
Downing Street staff told to ‘clean up’ phones amid lockdown party allegations
Two sources have told the independent that no 10 staff members were ordered to “clean up” their phones during an investigation into Downing Street parties.
One said a senior staff member “told to get rid of anything that might look bad”.
My colleague Anna Isaac has this exclusive story:
Rory SullivanJanuary 12, 2022 08:12
Watch: Prime Minister’s position ‘untenable’ if he attended lockdown party, Conservative MP says
Tories are outraged by the government’s silence on the Downing Street party expected to be held on May 20, 2020.
Conservative MP Nigel Mills is among those who believe the prime minister will have to resign if he attends the big rally:
Boris Johnson’s position ‘untenable’ as he attends No10 party, says Tory MP
Rory SullivanJanuary 12, 2022 08:08
No ministers sent on media round amid ‘party gate’ scandal
The government this morning refused to send ministers on media rounds amid the ‘partygate’ scandal, broadcasters have revealed.
Sky News’ Sophie Morris confirms the news:
Radio 4 says ‘no minister available’ for Today show amid No10 party scandal
Rory SullivanJanuary 12, 2022 08:04
Boris Johnson’s position ‘untenable’ if he attends a party, says Tory MP
Prime Minister’s position ‘untenable’ if he attended a party, says Tory MP.
Conservative MP Nigel Mills has warned Boris Johnson’s stance will be “untenable” if he knowingly attends a “bring your own booze” party in Garden No. 10 in violation of Covid rules.
“If the Prime Minister knowingly attended a party, I don’t understand how he can survive if he has accepted his resignation for a lot less,” he told BBC Newsnight.
“He accepted the resignation of his spokesperson (Allegra Stratton) because he didn’t go to the party, but joked about it at a time of much lighter restrictions. I just find that untenable.”
Mills added: “I don’t think we need an investigation to find out if the Prime Minister was there. He knows whether he was there or not. Just come out and tell me what happened.”
Rory SullivanJanuary 12, 2022 07:36
PM ‘must answer’ if he was at a party, says former adviser
Peter Cardwell, former special adviser to both Boris Johnson and Theresa May, says the prime minister should be “on par with the country” and say whether he attended the drinks events in May 2020.”
Keir Starmer only has to ask the same question six times – were you at the party on May 20, 2020, yes or no? – and Boris Johnson has to answer,” he told Sky News on today’s PMQs.
He added: “If he says yes, it looks like he broke the rules and lied. If he says no, there were witnesses who said he was there.”
Asked about The Independent’s Exclusive story that Downing Street staff were advised to “clean up” their phones by removing information that could suggest lockdown parties were being held at No. 10, Mr Cardwell said: “If anyone removes information that is highly unethical and potentially criminal, and she absolutely shouldn’t.”
He added: “Boris Johnson has made a career out of getting out of tricky situations. Whether he will get out of it remains to be seen. The vultures are circling, but no one is sticking the knife yet.”
Adam Forrest January 12, 2022 07:24
Good morning, and welcome back to The Independent’s live political report.
Today I bring you the latest on the Downing Street party scandal. With politicians in the House of Commons outraged by this affair, Boris Johnson faces a very difficult PMQ in the afternoon.
Rory SullivanJanuary 12, 2022 07:22