Partygate: Why didn't the PM ask more questions over his son's broken swing?

26 May 2022, 08:25

By Asher McShane

The No10 chief of staff this morning said Boris Johnson "wasn't even there" when asked why the PM didn't query how his child's swing came to be broken in a raucous garden gathering.

More details of parties held at No10 emerged yesterday in Sue Gray’s report.

One alcohol-fuelled event, with around 45 attendees, left the PM's baby Wilf's swing damaged, the report said.

Nick Ferrari asked Steve Barclay at Breakfast this morning: “If my son’s swing set was broken, I’d like to find out why and how. And when I was told it was work colleagues having a late-night jolly, I’d take action. Why didn’t he?”

Mr Barclay said: “It’s a very fair question. A number of these incidents took place when the prime minister wasn’t even there, when he was at Chequers for example.

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“There is a difference as far as the Prime minster was concerned between going to something for a few minutes in the course of what a PM does, meeting after meeting throughout the day.

“That is obviously very different than long after he had gone or when he wasn’t even in Downing Street, staff drinking late into the night.

“It is a big place, some of these incidents applied when he wasn’t even there”.

His comments come as some Tories renewed calls for Mr Johnson to quit.

Former minister Tobias Ellwood and backbencher Julian Sturdy described partygate as a “distraction” and said that the PM should resign.

Mr Sturdy said the full Sue Gray report showed the PM has “presided over a widespread disregard for the coronavirus regulations.”

In a statement posted on Twitter on Wednesday evening, the MP for York Outer said: “Questions are now being raised about whether the Prime Minister misled Parliament when asked about these events.

“Talking to constituents, it is clear discussions about parties in Downing Street remain a damaging distraction at a time when our country faces massive challenges with war returning to Europe, a global cost of living crisis, and our recovery from the pandemic being more important than ever.

“This is clearly a time when we cannot have any doubt about the honesty, integrity, and personal character of the Prime Minister”.

“While I thought it important to wait for the conclusion of the Metropolitan Police investigation and the publication of the Sue Gray report, I am now unable to give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt and feel it is now in the public interest for him to resign.”

The Prime Minister said on Wednesday that he recognised people are “indignant” over the damning findings of Ms Gray’s report into law-breaking at the heart of Government.

He said he takes “full responsibility” for the scandal but sought to play down his personal involvement in the gatherings detailed in the report.

“ I have got to keep moving forward and the Government has got to keep moving. And we are.”

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