19 April 2022 | NEWS

The Prime Minister has addressed Members of Parliament regarding his role in the ongoing Partygate scandal for the first time since he was fined by the Metropolitan Police.

Boris Johnson marked his one thousandth day in office by addressing MPs in the House of Commons in Parliament’s first sitting since the Easter break. The Prime Minister addressed the ongoing scandal surrounding his own breaches of the lockdown measures. Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak were all handed fines following their involvement in the breaches of lockdown restrictions.

The speech came following the announcement that the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, announced that Parliament would be permitted a vote on whether they deem Mr Johnson to have misled parliament, after telling MPs that he had had no involvement in the parties taking place in Downing Street.

The Speaker said on the matter: “Having considered the issue, having taken advice from the Clerks of the House, I’ve decided that this is a matter that I should allow the precedence accorded to the issue of privilege. Therefore, [Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer] may table a motion for debate on Thursday.”

Prior to the ongoing police investigation into the lockdown breaches, the Prime Minister had claimed in Parliament that he had not attended any such gatherings. But since the investigation, £50 fines have been handed to many of those working in Downing Street, including the Prime Minister.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had tabled a motion, to be voted on later this week, alleging that Prime Minister had misled Parliament, referring Boris Johnson to the Commons Privileges Committee.

In his speech in front of MPs in the Commons, the Prime Minister said:

“It did not occur to me then or subsequently that a gathering in the Cabinet Room just before a vital meeting on Covid strategy could amount to a breach of the rules. I repeat, that was my mistake and I apologise for it unreservedly. I respect the outcome of the police investigation, which is still underway.

“I can only say I will respect their decision-making and always take the appropriate steps. And as the House will know, I have already taken significant steps to change the way things work in Number Ten. And it is precisely because I know that so many people are angry and disappointed that I feel an even greater sense of obligation to deliver on the priorities of the British people and respond in the best traditions of our country to Putin’s barbaric onslaught against Ukraine.”

In an effort to move on from the scandal, the Prime Minister went on to reiterate his support for the people of Ukraine, following the invasion by Russia. Boris Johnson further recounted his experiences with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a meeting in Kyiv.

The Leader of the Opposition responded to Boris Johnson’s apology by saying “what a joke”, calling the Prime Minister’s apology “mealy-mouthed” arguing that the public “don’t believe a word he says”.

Jonathan is a political reporter and commentator. His interests include philosophy and sociology.

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