LABOUR refused to demand Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation yesterday, following the revelation that he held a party in his Downing Street garden on 20th May, 2020, to which 100 people were invited and told to ‘Bring Your Own Booze’.
In fact, the PM did not even turn up to answer the ‘Urgent Question’, showing his absolute contempt for parliament.
Under lockdown measures in place at the time, the rest of the country was banned from meeting more than one other person out of doors.
In the House of Commons yesterday, Labour was granted an Urgent Question on whether Johnson attended the 20th May party – but declined to demand that Johnson quit.
Johnson put up Paymaster General Michael Ellis to face the Urgent Question in his place.
Ellis said: ‘The Prime Minister has asked for an investigation to take place and the terms of reference for the investigations that are underway have already been published and deposited in the libraries of this House, and in fact both Houses.
‘The investigations are now being led by Sue Gray, she is the second permanent secretary of the Cabinet Office and the Department for Levelling Up and of course she is a former Director General of Propriety and Ethics…
‘Both the Prime Minister and I came before this House in December, we set out the details of the investigation being led by the Cabinet Office into these allegations of gatherings and those investigations are continuing.’
Labour Party Deputy Leader Angela Rayner responded: ‘It is incredibly disappointing, though not surprising, that the Prime Minister, of whom I asked the Question, is not here today, despite not having any official engagements.
‘And I think his absence speaks volumes as does his slur on the media. The public have already drawn their own conclusions. He can run but he can’t hide…
‘The minister hides behind the Gray investigation. There is no need for an investigation into the simple, central question today. Did the Prime Minister attend the event in the Downing Street garden on 20th May, 2020?
‘It won’t wash to blame this on a few junior civil servants, the Prime Minister set the tone. If the Prime Minister was there, surely he knew. The invitation was sent to a hundred staff, many of them his own most personal senior appointees.
‘This was organised in advance, so, did the Prime Minister know about the event beforehand and did he give his permission for it to go ahead? And if so, did he believe this event was keeping within the restrictions at the time and the guidelines and was the Chief Medical Officer consulted before it went ahead?
‘And what did the Chancellor know about the party, given that he lives and works next door?
‘Can the minister confirm that no other ministers were present? And, finally, can I ask the minister here today, does he still believe the Prime Minister to be a man of honour and integrity?’
Ellis replied largely by reworking his original statement.
Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said: ‘If the Prime Minister is found to have broken the law, he will resign, won’t he?’
Ellis replied: ‘It’s an entirely hypothetical question… the Prime Minister is going nowhere… The Prime Minister retains the confidence of the people of this country.’
Johnson will face Prime Minister’s Questions at 12.00 in the House of Commons today.