• Sunday, December 03, 2023


Johnson gives Commons grilling over No10 parties a miss

British prime minister Boris Johnson. (Photo by KIRSTY O’CONNOR/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Sattwik Biswal

GRIEF-STRICKEN MPs branded Boris Johnson a “liar” as the prime minister on Tuesday (11) gave a Commons grilling over No10 parties a miss.

Instead he sent Paymaster General Michael Ellis to answer an important question on an email inviting staff to a “BYOB” lockdown party.

Labour’s Angela Rayner said the absence of Johnson, who smirked as he refused attending the May 2020 lockdown bash – “speaks volumes, as does his smirks on the media.

“The public have already drawn their own conclusions. He can run but he can’t hide.”

MPs shared their lockdown ordeal and grief while following the lockdown rules. Labour’s Afzal Khan sat in the car outside the hospital where his mother died, to be close with her.

Khan said: “My beloved mum died of Covid in March 2020. She died alone in hospital while I sat in the car outside, trying to be as close to her as I could.

“Even burdened with our grief, my family obeyed the rules. Just three days after the Downing Street party, we marked a solemn Eid, the first without my lovely mum.

“When asked by Sky News about the parties, the Prime Minister did little but smirk and nod.

“He should be here today, but as he is not, can the minister confirm whether the Prime Minister will be apologising to bereaved families like mine for the anguish, pain and torment caused not just by hosting these parties, but for continuing to lie about it.”

DUP’s Jim Shannon broke down in tears when he recalled how his mother-in-law died alone.

He said: “In Northern Ireland we reached the milestone of 3,000 deaths due to Covid just last week, 3,000 people who followed the rules… including my mother-in-law who died alone.”

Tory benches were hardly occupied as the Met Police said it were in talks with the Cabinet Office over the leaked email.

Ellis told the MPs that Johnson was a man of integrity and few minutes later refused to say that the prime minister would resign if he had broken the law.

A leaked email from prime minister’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds inviting 100 staff to drinks in the No10 garden on 20 May 2020 when outdoor gathering were banned.

Thye mail from him read: “Hi all, after what has been an incredibly busy period we thought it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden this evening.

“Please join us from 6pm and bring your own booze!”

When asked what was Johnson doing rather than attending this urgent question, Ellis said: “I don’t have the full diary in front of me at the moment.

“But it’s not uncommon, obviously, for Government ministers to answer these sorts of questions.”

He added: “It is not routine for the Prime Minister to attend urgent questions before this House, his ministers are appointed to do so.

“But he also attends this House more often than anyone else to answer questions, and will be doing so tomorrow in the normal way at PMQs.”

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw asked: “If the prime minister broke the law, he will resign, won’t he?”.

Ellis in response said: “It is an entirely hypothetical position. The prime minister is going nowhere.”

Eastern Eye

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