Peston: Ruth Davidson blasts Boris over partygate response – Where is the integrity?!

Downing Street party leaks become 'draining' says Hemmings

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Speaking to ITV’s political editor, Robert Peston, on Wednesday night, Ruth Davidson shared her frustrations over the Prime Minister’s behaviour in the wake of partygate. It was announced on Wednesday that the Metropolitan Police would broaden their investigation into the alleged parties at Downing Street and Whitehall, which are thought to have broken Covid restrictions. Scotland Yard declared that over 50 people will be questioned about the events.

The renewed vigour to investigate Boris Johnson and his colleagues came after the Mirror released photos of the Prime Minister and three members of staff adorned with tinsel and an open bottle of prosecco at a ‘virtual’ Christmas quiz inside Number 10.

The quiz was held in December 2020, while London faced Tier 2 restrictions that banned social mixing between households.

One day later, the capital was forced into more severe restrictions as it was placed in Tier 3 measures due to the Alpha variant of COVID-19.

At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Mr Johnson was asked by Labour MP Fabian Hamilton if the quiz should be added to the long list of events being investigated by the Met.

Hamilton said: “It looks a lot like one of the Christmas parties he told us never happened.”

The Prime Minister replied by stating Mr Hamilton was “completely in error” and added the event had “already been submitted for investigation.”

Although the Met had initially decided not to investigate the Christmas quiz, they have since released a statement which says: “The Metropolitan Police Service previously assessed this event and determined that on the basis of the evidence available at that time, it did not meet the threshold for criminal investigation. 

“That assessment is now being reviewed.”

Speaking to Peston, Ruth Davidson, the former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, called out Mr Johnson’s lack of “moral authority” and demanded he resign from office.

She said: “As soon as we found out after he stood up in the House of Commons and said that he was shocked, let me tell you, shocked that parties had happened in that building that he was not aware of, and we found out that actually he had known about them, he had attended some of them, I think that was the point at which he had to go.

“Telling a known mistruth to the House is a resigning matter and if it’s not then what are we all doing there?”

Davidson added: “Where is integrity and truth and moral authority? 

“These things sound old fashioned, but they still matter it is how our democracy works.”

The Metropolitan Police announced they are currently examining 12 events that were thought to have breached restrictions and have been handed over 300 photographs and 500 pages of evidence.

It has been acknowledged that three of these were attended by Mr Johnson and a fourth event was potentially held in the Prime Minister’s flat. 

If the Met conclude restrictions were breached “without a reasonable excuse”, they will issue fixed penalty notices and paperwork will be sent to the criminal records office.

Mr Peston also interviewed Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland.

Peston gave the Chief Secretary to the Treasury a “straight forward yes or no” question, asking if the Prime Minister should resign if he is fined by the police.

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Mr Clarke seemed frustrated by the presenter’s question and said: “No look, the Prime Minister has been very clear that if there is any action taken against him by the police then he will make that public.”

“I’m not going to get on drawn on hypotheticals as to what he would need to do in any given scenario which of course, has not come to pass. 

“The Prime minister has strenuously insisted that of course he has nothing to fear from these enquiries. 

“That’s a point he makes very strongly that he believes he has at all times followed those rules.

“We await the outcome of Sue Gray whose final report when we receive it, will be published in full. 

“We await the outcome of the police investigation as I say the PM will disclose if any action is taken against him.”

Dominic Cummings, who has become a cutting critic of the Prime Minister, has suggested there are many more photos of the events with Mr Johnson in attendance.

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