PMQs: Three Westminster leaders called for Boris Johnson to resign - here's what they said
Westminster leaders took aim at Boris Johnson after he apologised over a lockdown party held at Number 10 Downing Street.
The Prime Minster apologised to MPs and the country for allowing parties to go ahead in the Number 10 Downing Street garden.
Boris Johnson told the Commons: “I want to apologise. I know that millions of people across this country have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18 months.
“I know the anguish they have been through – unable to mourn their relatives, unable to live their lives as they want or to do the things they love.
“I know the rage they feel with me and with the Government I lead when they think in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.
“And though I cannot anticipate the conclusions of the current inquiry, I have learned enough to know there were things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility.”
Boris Johnson told the Commons: “With hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside. I should have found some other way to thank them."
Here is what every Opposition leader said in the House of Commons during PMQs.
Sir Keir Starmer (Labour)
Labour leader Keir Starmer asked the Prime Minister if he is now “going to do the decent thing and resign”.
Sir Keir said: “There we have it. After months of deceit and deception, the pathetic spectacle of a man who has run out of road. His defence … that he didn’t realise he was at a party is so ridiculous that it’s actually offensive to the British public.
“He’s finally been forced to admit what everyone knew, that when the whole country was locked down he was hosting boozing parties in Downing Street. Is he now going to do the decent thing and resign?”
In a separate exchange he asked: “Why does the Prime Minister still think that the rules don’t apply to him?”
He said: “When the Prime Minister’s former health secretary broke the rules, he resigned and the Prime Minister said he was right to do so.
“When the Prime Minister’s spokesperson laughed about the rules being broken, she resigned and the Prime Minister accepted that resignation.
“Why does the Prime Minister still think that the rules don’t apply to him?”
Sir Keir Starmer told Boris Johnson then told the PM the “party is over” as he asked the Prime Minister to resign before he is kicked out by voters or Tory MPs.
The Labour leader told the Commons: “We’ve got the Prime Minister attending Downing Street parties – a clear breach of the rules. We’ve got the Prime Minister putting forward a series of ridiculous denials which he knows are untrue – a clear breach of the ministerial code.
“That code says ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation.
“The party’s over, Prime Minister. The only question is will the British public kick him out, will his party kick him out or will he do the decent thing and resign?”
Sir Keir Starmer said: “This just isn’t working, Prime Minister.”
He said: “Everyone can see what happened, it started with reports of boozy parties in Downing Street during lockdown. The Prime Minister pretended that he had been assured there were no parties, how that fits with his defence now I do not know.
“Then the video landed, blowing the Prime Minister’s first defence out of the water, so then he pretended … he was sickened and furious about the parties, now it turns out he was at the parties all along. Can’t the Prime Minister see why the British public think he’s lying through his teeth?”
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said: “It was what the public think, not what a member is saying.”
Boris Johnson replied: “It’s up to (him) to choose how he conducts himself in this place … what he said is wrong in several key respects, but that does not detract from the basic point that I want to make today, which is that I accept that we should have done things differently on that evening.
“As I said to the House, I believe that the events in question were within the guidance and were within the rules, and that was certainly the assumption on which I operated … He should wait before he jumps to conclusions, a lawyer should respect the inquiry, I hope that he will wait until the facts are established and brought to this House.”
Ian Blackford (SNP)
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford urged Boris Johnson to “do the decent thing” and resign.
He said at Prime Minister’s Questions: “The Prime Minister stands before us accused of betraying the nation’s trust, of treating the public with contempt, of breaking the laws set by his own Government.
“A former member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, Paul, wrote to me this morning. His father died without the love and support of his full family around them because they followed the regulations, Prime Minister.
“Paul said ‘as an ex-soldier, I know how to follow the rules but the Prime Minister has never followed any rules. He does what he wants, and he gets away with it every time’. The Prime Minister can’t get away with it again. Will the Prime Minister finally do the decent thing and resign or will his Tory MPs be forced to show him the door?”
In another exchange he said that if Boris Johnson “has no sense of shame”, then the Tory backbenchers “must act to remove him”.
Mr Blackford said that while the public “suffered pain and anguish”, the Prime Minister “was drinking and laughing behind the walls of his private garden”.
He added: “The public overwhelmingly think that the Prime Minister should resign.
“Trust has been lost and the public will not forgive or forget. If the Prime Minister has no sense of shame, then the Tory backbenchers must act to remove him.”
Sir Ed Davey (Lib Dem)
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey told the Commons: “After another shameful week for his Government, this has been a shameful attempt to apologise to this House today.
“So can the Prime Minister explain why the only person to resign so far for this scandal is Allegra Stratton, a woman, while he – the man who sanctioned and attended at least one party in 10 Downing Street – still sits in his place?
“Advisers advise and ministers decide. So will the Prime Minister, for the good of the country, accept that the party is over and decide to resign?”
Boris Johnson replied: “I respect the point he’s making but I must say I disagree.
“I would ask him to wait and see what the inquiry says, and I’ll be very happy to talk to him then.”