Partygate: Boris Johnson claims ‘it did not occur’ to him that he was breaking rules#
The prime minister is “human” and humans “sometimes make mistakes”, the transport secretary has said as he defended Boris Johnson.
When asked on sky news how the prime minister can “possibly remain in office”, Grant Shapps said: “Everyone is human, people sometimes make mistakes.
“The question I suppose, your question goes to the heart of, you know, did he set out to do this? Was it something that was done with malice, with intent?
“And the answer is of course, is no. It’s something that happened in error, and as I have said, I’ve spoken to him, he is incredibly embarrassed by the whole thing.
Earlier, Mr Johnson said it “did not occur” to him that the gathering might be breaching Covid rules, while Rishi Sunak said he understood that “for figures in public office, the rules must be applied stringently in order to maintain public confidence,” however both resisted calls to resign.
Boris Johnson did not knowingly break law, Shapps says
Grant Shapps has said Boris Johnson did not knowingly break the law.
Speaking on Sky News, the transport secretary said: “He didn’t knowingly break the law. He didn’t do it deliberately. He didn’t come to Parliament and having knowingly done this.
“He thought in fact that the same people who wished him happy birthday, who he had already been meeting with earlier that day, was not breaking the law.
“The police take a different view. He absolutely accepts that and has paid the fine.”
When asked what he will take for the prime minister to leave office, Mr Shapps said “we live in a democracy and people have every right to vote, to decide what happens with their representatives”.
Thomas Kingsley13 April 2022 08:00
‘Humans make mistakes,’ minister says in defense of Boris Johnson’s Covid fine
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has come to the defense of the prime minister claiming that “humans make mistakes” and that Boris Johnson is very “embarrassed” by receiving the Covid fine from the Met Police.
When asked on Sky News this morning about the 50 Covid fines handed out by Met Police for Downing Street parties, Mr Shapps responded: “Everyone is human, people sometimes make mistakes,” he said.
“He’s human and humans err sometimes they make mistakes. The police have investigated and independently come to their view he’s apologised, he’s accepted responsibility, he’s paid the £50 fine.
“Your question goes to the heart of did he set out to do this, was this something done with malice or intent and the answer of course is no. It’s something that happened in error, I’ve spoken to him he’s incredibly embarrassed by the whole thing he knows it’s stupid he didn’t set up to break the law.
Thomas Kingsley13 April 2022 07:45
Boris Johnson’s Partygate troubles are far from over
The first Partygate fines at the top of government have landed. No one has resigned.
Yet questions are building over how the cumulative effect of more fixed penalty notices might be managed by senior figures in government, and the wider Conservative Party.
Boris Johnson plans to blame his Partygate mishaps on misguided assurances from his erstwhile team in Downing Street that he had been acting in accordance with Covid laws, The Independent has learned. He does so as the first sitting prime minister to break his own laws.
Our economics editor, Anna Isaachas the full analysis below:
Thomas Kingsley13 April 2022 07:32
Tory MP claims Boris Johnson ‘did not break the law’
Tory MP Shailesh Vara claims Boris Johnson didn’t break the law, despite the PM being fined by the Met Police for attending his lockdown birthday bash.
Speaking on LBC this morning the MP, Mr Vara said that Downing Street staff were simply marking the birthday of the prime minister in an event that lasted “no longer than nine minutes.”
“My view is the prime minister has accepted that the police have come to this conclusion, they’ve fined the prime minister and the chancellor,” Mr Vara said. “I accept the view of the police,” he added.
When pressed, however, Mr Vara struggled to say that Boris Johnson broke the law after being handed a Covid fine.
Thomas Kingsley13 April 2022 07:17
ICYMI: Johnson offers ‘full apology’ for breaking Covid laws
Boris Johnson has offered a “full apology” and confirmed he has paid a fixed penalty fine for attending a birthday party in Downing Street in June 2020, but insisted that it “did not occur to me” at the time that he had broken the rules .
Defending himself against accusations that he misled parliament over parties at No 10, Mr Johnson insisted that he “spoke in completely good faith” when he told the House of Commons that no Covid rules were broken.
Asked if he will quit, he replied: “I want to be able to get on and deliver the mandate that I have.”
Confirming that he had been fined over the birthday party – at which a close ally previously said he was “ambushed with a cake” – Mr Johnson said: “I’ve paid the fine and I once again offer a full apology and in the spirit of openness and humility I want to be completely clear about what happened on that date.”
Namita Singh13 April 2022 07:03
Renewed calls demanding PM’s resignation
Boris Johnson is facing fresh calls for his resignation after he became the first sitting prime minister in UK history to be found by police to have broken the law.
Labor leader Keir Starmer said that the fines showed that the PM and his chancellor Rishi Sunak had lied repeatedly about the Partygate scandal, dishonouring both their offices and the sacrifices of the British people. He said: “They have to go.”
His call for their resignation was echoed by former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and by representatives of families bereaved by the pandemic, who said that the “shameless” prime minister had “taken us all for mugs” and caused untill hurt to those who lost loved one is.
While the prime minister immediately paid the fine and offered a “full apology”, he gave no indication that he was considering leaving his position.
He acknowledged public anger at his failure to observe restrictions which he had imposed on the entire nation and said voters “had the right to expect better” from him.
Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has the details.
Namita Singh13 April 2022 06:58
Recap: Why were fines issued?
The FPNs relate to parties held at No 10 while London, and the rest of the UK, was under strict lockdown regulations.
Downing Street has now confirmed that Mr Johnson’s fine relates to a birthday gathering held for him while severe Covid restrictions were imposed on the public. The event, at which a Tory MP infamously suggested Mr Johnson had been “ambushed with a cake”, was also attended by Rishi Sunak and Carrie Johnson.
A spokesperson for No 10 said: “The Metropolitan Police have now explained that the FPN issued to the PM will be in relation to the following incident: ‘On 19 June 2020, at the Cabinet Room 10 Downing Street, between 2pm and 3pm, you participated in a gathering of two or more people indoors’.”
Police made clear that further fines may also be issued to those already penalised, suggesting they are working through cases event by event rather than individual by individual.
Read the details in this report:
Namita Singh13 April 2022 06:45
Does the prime minister now have a criminal record?
Following the fixed-penalty notices (FNP) issued to Boris Johnson, his chancellor Rishi Sunak and wife Carrie Johnson for breaking Covid laws during lockdown, speculations are rife whether the PM will now hold a criminal record.
Despite the unprecendented development, in what has become the worst scandal to hit Conservative Party under the premiership of Mr Johnson, it appears that he will not come away with a criminal record.
As the Criminal Records Office (Acro) explains on its website: “Fixed penalty notices issued for offenses under coronavirus legislation are non-recordable, so whether an FPN is paid or contested, it will not be recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC) .”
However, the government agency adds that what might happen is an offender’s details are “held by the relevant [local police] strength”.
Read this report by sam hancock for details.
Namita Singh13 April 2022 06:42
Tory MP Manufacturer defends PM by claiming ‘many nurses and teachers’ also broke law
Mr Fabricator compared Mr Johnson’s actions, for which he was fined by police on Tuesday, as being like “many teachers and nurses who after a very, very long shift would tend to go back to the staff room and have a quiet drink”. He added: “Which is more or less what he has done.”
Tory MP Michael Manufacturer claims ‘many nurses and teachers’ also broke law
When asked about the source of his remark which suggested that teachers and nurses had also engaged in lockdown-breaking activities, Mr Manufacturer told BBC News: “Well, I do know of some who did and, you know, its quite natural. I wasn’t saying they were having a party – I am not saying that Boris Johnson was having a party.”
Read this report by Emily Atkinson.
Namita Singh13 April 2022 06:12
PM intends to blame Partygate mishaps on misguided advice from his former team
Boris Johnson plans to blame his Partygate mishaps on misguided assurances from his erstwhile team in Downing Street that he had been acting in accordance with Covid laws, The Independent has learned.
Attempts will be made to project him as a prime minister who was focused and busy at a time of crisis and barely had time to think. The first signs of this strategy appeared in his statement on Tuesday evening. As the prime minister outlined how sorry he was, he was also clear just how busy he was.
“And amongst all these engagements, on a day that happened to be my birthday, there was a brief gathering in the cabinet room shortly after 2pm, lasting for less than 10 minutes, during which people I work with kindly passed on their good wishes, ” the prime minister said.
The PR effort will not seek to suggest that the fines are trivial — should they start to mount up — but it will try to place the Partygate scandal against a backdrop of the threat posed to liberal democracy in the west by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sources familiar with Downing Street operations said.
Read this review by Anna Isaac who breaks down the strategy deployed by Downing Street to tackle the mounting public backlash against the PM over the Partygate scandal.
Namita Singh13 April 2022 06:01