Boris Johnson grilled on 'ridiculous' defence of May party
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Mr Johnson’s interview, where he claimed no one informed him the gathering he attended in the garden of No 10 was a party, has caused derision in the Conservative Party. One Tory MP is said to have questioned why the Prime Minister sat down with Beth Rigby in the first place after “avoiding her for ages”.
In the interview on Tuesday, the Prime Minister was questioned during a visit to a hospital in north London and repeatedly stared at the floor while being grilled by Ms Rigby over alleged parties that took place at Downing Street.
Mr Johnson denied an accusation made by his former adviser, Dominic Cummings, that he had lied to Parliament about a lockdown party, saying that nobody had warned him the gathering might be against Covid lockdown rules.
During the interview, the Prime Minister insisted he believed he was at a “work event” when the May 20 party took place.
However, his claims were then branded “ludicrous” and “ridiculous” by the Sky News political editor.
She asked: “You are just taking the mickey out of the British people by suggesting that, you know how silly that sounds don’t you?”
The PM replied saying that the public would have to wait to see what the report says, referring to the ongoing investigation being carried out by senior official Sue Gray.
Mr Johnson replied: “I think what people need to do is wait and see what the report says. I repeat my deep apologies to people for mistakes that may have been made on my watch.”
The interview marked Mr Johnson’s first public appearance since reports emerged of two boozy parties taking place at No 10 the night before the Queen laid her husband Prince Philip to rest after 73 years of marriage.
The PM said: “I deeply and bitterly regret that that happened.”
He added: “I can only renew my apologies both to Her Majesty and to the country for misjudgements that were made, and for which I take full responsibility.”
However, Mr Johnson’s decision to take part in the interview has come under fire from a fellow Conservative who claims that in the aftermath the PM’s “authority is just shot”.
A senior Conservative said: “Why the f*** was he speaking to Beth Rigby for 16 minutes.
“It’s mental. He’s been avoiding her for ages.
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“It’s probably out of a desire to be out there and to be seen but his authority is just shot. He’s a lame duck.”
The unnamed Tory also added “It’s a question of days and weeks now, not months” making reference to calls for the Prime Minister to resign.
Mr Johnson is set to face an increasingly angry chorus of his own MPs amid reports the 54 letters which would launch a no-confidence vote in the PM could be reached soon.
Reports suggest that behind the scenes, Mr Johnson is already making extensive preparations for a confidence vote and has reportedly told friends: “Bring it on.”
While the PM plans to fight on regardless of Ms Gray’s investigation findings, others in No 10 are increasingly worried.
The Times reports that a Government figure who spoke to Johnson’s No 10 team said they were “totally delusional”.
They said: “They’ve convinced themselves that Gray will exonerate him and they can just go back to how things were before. It’s rubbish.
“The only people who think he can go on and on are in No 10.”
Downing Street is said to be nervous over Ms Gray’s findings, which will be published at some point next week.
The outlet also claims that an insider said that the atmosphere in No 10 was like being in a “nest of adders”.
They claim: “Everyone is turning on one another. There is a really terrible atmosphere in the place.
“Most of the people who work in No 10 are officials who are motivated by service and doing the right thing.”
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