PMQs RECAP: Boris Johnson issues apology as pressure mounts over Covid lockdown party
Boris Johnson is set to face MPs in a battle to save his premiership over allegations about a “bring your own booze” party in the No 10 garden in an apparent breach of Covid lockdown rules.
The Prime Minister will make his first public appearance since the leak on Monday of an email from his principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, inviting Downing Street staff to the gathering in May 2020 to “make the most of the lovely weather”.
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PMQs LIVE: Boris Johnson to face scrutiny from MPs as pressure mounts over Downing Street party
Last updated: Wednesday, 12 January, 2022, 12:34
If you are just joining us you have missed a rather explosive PMQs.
The PM admitted he went to drinks for 25 mins on 20th May, despite previously denying any knowledge of parties and apologised.
He says he wished he had sent staff back inside - But his defence is he thought it was a work party.
He urges MPs to wait for Sue Gray to report
Hello and welcome to our live blog on yet another busy day in the world of UK politics.
Boris Johnson is feeling the pressure and will face MPs at noon in a bid to save his premiership over allegations about a “bring your own booze” party in the No 10 garden in an apparent breach of Covid lockdown rules.
Scotsman comment: Downing Street lockdown party: Boris Johnson must resign and here’s why
The session will kick off at about 12:00 and will see the return of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
Last week, he had to miss PMQs when he tested positive for Covid, and his deputy Angela Rayner stood in his place.
Why is this PMQs different?
This PMQs will be watched by millions today and will be the PM’s first public appearance since the leak on Monday of an email from his principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, inviting Downing Street staff to the gathering in May 2020 to “make the most of the lovely weather”.
The disclosure triggered a new wave of public anger following the reports last year of parties in the run up to Christmas 2020, with Tory MPs openly warning Mr Johnson his position will be untenable if he has been shown to have lied.
Downing Street has refused to say if Boris Johnson was present at the May event, despite reports he and his fiancee (now wife), Carrie Symonds, were among around 30 people to attend at a time when such gatherings were banned.
All eyes are on Downing Street...
Will you be tuning in? Here’s how you can watch PMQs today - as well as following updates on our blog of course.
Absent faces in the chamber?
Chancellor Rishi Sunak tweeted from a visit to Ilfracombe in Devon on Wednesday morning.
The journey from there to Parliament would take more than four hours by car, suggesting he may not be in the Chamber to support Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions.
Mr Sunak said he was “excited” to be in the town with North Devon MP Selaine Saxby.
However, it isn’t ALL bad news for Boris today. Tory backbencher Michael Fabricant has reiterated his defence of the May 2020 drinks party, saying the secure nature of the Downing Street garden would be a factor considered in the inquiry into the gathering.
The MP for Lichfield tweeted: “#Covid rules are and were all about not spreading disease.
“The Downing Street garden is a secure area protected by armed police adjoining (around) 100 cramped offices.
“No mixing with non-Downing Street workers is possible. This will be one of the factors being considered in the inquiry.”
Boris Johnson has left No 10. “What booze did you buy Prime Minister?” is shouting by a member of the press.
How good is your memory Prime Minister?
The last time a party was mentioned at PMQs Boris Johnson said he’d been: “Repeatedly assured...there was no party and no Covid rules were broken”.
Now with the PM facing allegations he himself was at a party - what will be the response from MPs.
We are moments away...
There have been calls for the PM to step down.
In the Scottish Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Johnson should resign, claiming he was “not being truthful” about his knowledge of the various parties.
A Savanta ComRes study found 66% of British adults thought he should quit, with 24% saying he should stay while a YouGov survey for Sky News found 56% believed he should go, with 27% saying he should remain.