Boris Johnson has been told he is “cheersing” as prime minister as he repeatedly dodged questions about No. 10 lockdown celebrations amid Covid restrictions.
Under a whim of MPs, Mr Johnson said he was unable to provide “running commentary” when questioned about the episode that led to calls for his resignation.
On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police announced it would issue an initial set of 20 fixed fines as part of its investigation into 12 events that took place in Downing Street during strict Covid restrictions.
Police have not confirmed the amount of the fines, which ranged between £100 and £10,000 over the period covered, depending on the law in force at the time, the size of the gathering and the person’s role.
Despite dodging questions, the prime minister indicated that he was not among those who have been given a fixed fine for violations of the Covid laws so far.
Asked if he had been given a fixed fine, the Prime Minister told MPs: “I’m sure you would know if I was, but I think… I’ve been to the House several times to talk about this , explain and apologize.
“But what I’ve also said repeatedly is that I won’t comment on an ongoing investigation — it would be wrong for me to deviate from that.”
SNP MP Pete Wishart replied: “Prime Minister, we obviously don’t expect you to provide a running commentary, but if you have…
Mr Wishart also asked the Prime Minister to accept that “crime has been committed” given Scotland Yard’s decision to issue 20 fines.
Previously, Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, accepted fines that meant breaking the law — a view Downing Street declined to endorse on Wednesday.
But Mr Johnson told Mr Wishart: “I have been, I hope, very frank with the House about where I think we went wrong and about the things I regret, for which I apologise.
“But there is an ongoing investigation… I’m going to camp pretty firmly in my position. I will not comment on an ongoing investigation.”
When asked by a second MP how he would respond to a petition signed by more than 130,000 seeking to criminalize lying in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson continued: “I have tried to be as clear as possible about my understanding of events.
“I’ve been back repeatedly to… for the Commons to explain, to apologize for the things I think we’re wrong, and I have no doubt I’ll be back again .”