Boris Johnson faces calls to resign and is accused of holding country in ‘contempt’ over lockdown parties in fiery PMQs
Boris Johnson has been accused of holding the country in “contempt”, as he refused to resign following the launch of a police probe into parties held under his roof at the height of lockdown.
The number of reported Downing Street parties now totals 19 after it was revealed on Monday that a birthday celebration was held for Mr Johnson during the first lockdown.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick confirmed on Tuesday that officers were now investigating a number of potential offences committed over the last two years.
READ MORE: Everything we know of Sue Gray report ahead of publication
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, speaking in the Commons, said: “We now have the shameful spectacle of a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom being subjected to a police investigation, unable to lead the country and incapable of doing the right thing.
“Every day his Cabinet failed to speak out, they become more and more complicit.”
He added: “Isn’t this a Prime Minister and a government that have shown nothing but contempt for the decency, honesty and respect that define this country?”
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Mr Johnson repeatedly said he “could not comment” on the allegations while the police and internal civil service investigation were ongoing, but said: “We love this country and we’re doing everything in our power to help this country.
“Of course he wants me out the way, many people may want me out of the way, but I tell you the reason he wants me out of the way because he knows that this Government can be trusted to deliver.”
Concluding his remarks to Sir Keir, the prime minister criticised the Labour leader for opposing Brexit before adding: “The problem with the Labour Party today is he’s a lawyer, not a leader.”
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After the cheers subsided from the Tory benches, he went on: “We’ve taken the tough decisions, we’ve got the big calls right and we – and in particular I – are getting on with the job.”
The internal civil service report into the events in Number 10 is expected to be sent to the prime minister later today.
Sources close to the inquiry expect it to be published in full, although ultimately it is a matter for Mr Johnson to decide.
The steady stream of allegations over alleged breaches of lockdown rules have undermined the Prime Minister, and many of his critics are waiting for Sue Gray’s report before deciding whether or not to submit formal letters saying they have no confidence in his leadership.
If Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, receives 54 letters – 15% of Tory MPs – a vote on Mr Johnson’s leadership would be held.
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