Boris Johnson apology: Boris Johnson set to apologise to MPs over partygate lockdown breach

Boris Johnson is to make his first statement to Parliament since being fined by police for breaking lockdown rules with the Prime Minister expected to make a “full-throated apology” to MPs.

But is it reported he will stop short of addressing allegations he instigated a separate lockdown leaving do, as he attempts to convince politicians there are bigger issues to focus on than the partygate saga.

It is thought he will zone in on the crisis in Ukraine, along with the Government’s controversial new policy on sending “illegal” migrants to Rwanda.

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Last week the PM was fined by the Metropolitan Police for attending a birthday bash thrown in his honour in the Cabinet room in June 2020, while coronavirus restrictions were in place.

Boris Johnson is today expected to make an apology to MPs after he was fined by police for attending a birthday bash in breach of Covid rules.Boris Johnson is today expected to make an apology to MPs after he was fined by police for attending a birthday bash in breach of Covid rules.
Boris Johnson is today expected to make an apology to MPs after he was fined by police for attending a birthday bash in breach of Covid rules.

He was then accused over the weekend of not only attending a leaving party for his former communications chief Lee Cain on November 13 2020, but instigating the do.

Downing Street declined to comment on the claims.

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Mr Johnson is widely expected to make a statement in the Commons today, as MPs return to Westminster following the Easter recess.

The Telegraph cited a Downing Street source as saying he will “offer a full-throated apology and recognise the strength of feeling” among MPs on partygate, but is unlikely to go into too much detail on the matter.

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“He will obviously give an update on the fine because there is a clear need to do that, but it is difficult to pre-empt the findings of an ongoing police investigation publicly,” the source reportedly said.

The newspaper said he will instead talk about Ukraine and the Rwanda deal, while The Times previously reported he will also touch on the cost-of-living crisis and a trip to India focusing on defence and trade.

As well as addressing MPs in the Chamber, Mr Johnson is expected to speak to a meeting of the entire Conservative parliamentary party on Tuesday evening.

According to The Telegraph, it is also thought Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, will announce today that he will allow a vote on an investigation into whether the PM misled Parliament with his partygate explanations.

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On Monday, a senior Tory suggested a “war cabinet” could be established in place of a leadership contest to avoid detracting attention from the crisis in Ukraine if the PM steps down or is deposed.

Sir Roger Gale said the “interim administration” could be led by the deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab, who briefly took the reins in 2020 when Mr Johnson was hospitalised with Covid-19.

The veteran Conservative MP previously submitted a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister, which remains “on the table”, but has since said it is not the right time for a leadership election given the situation in Ukraine.

He told the PA news agency he was now keen to establish if it may be possible to put a contest on hold if Mr Johnson resigns or is forced out of his job.

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Brandon Lewis has suggested that Boris Johnson being fined as part of the investigation into alleged lockdown parties in Downing Street was akin to ministers have previously received parking fines and that the PM did not mislead Parliament over the so-called partygate allegations

The Northern Ireland Secretary told Sky News: “I think we do see consistently, whether it is through parking fines or speeding fines, ministers of both parties over the years have been in that position.

“We’ve had prime ministers in the past who have received penalty notices, from what I can see, and also front bench ministers.

“I saw there was a parking notice that Tony Blair had once. We’ve seen front bench Labour ministers and, let’s be frank, government ministers as well.”

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He added: “You’ve asked me, can someone who sets the laws and the rules, can they also be someone who breaks the rules.

“That clearly has happened with a number of ministers over the years.”

The chairman of the Commons Defence Committee has said.

Tobias Ellwood MP said that now was the time for the Prime Minister to address partygate.

“If I may, I need to distinguish between what’s going on in Ukraine and the fact that, yes, there is a difficult issue facing number 10,” he said.

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“But we shouldn’t use the fig leaf of our involvement with Ukraine to somehow say this is not a time to address those difficult challenges.”

He added that there is a “Rolls Royce Whitehall machine” that can provide advice to whoever is the prime minister of the day.

“So, whatever prime minister, whoever that will be, will get the same advice,” he said.

“If there were a leadership contest, you’d actually see, I think, a bidding war of candidates wanting to do more to lean forward to support Ukraine. “