Clash over Partygate as Prime Minister refuses to approve Raab’s admissions laws, they’ve been violated

Boris Johnson has clashed with his Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab over the Partygate scandal, by refusing to endorse the Attorney General’s admission that laws were broken in No. 10.

Mr Raab’s comment came after 24 hours in which Downing Street had refused to accept that the Metropolitan Police’s fines for 20 lockdown violations were evidence of breaking the law.

But Mr Johnson stuck to the official line when he was roasted by a parliamentary committee on the matter, insisting that he would not comment on Partygate until the Met investigation is completed and Whitehall Mandarin Sue Gray’s report is published. .

The prime minister faced calls to resign over what Labor said was clear evidence of “crime” under his watch in Downing Street – with one MP telling him straight to his face: “You’re toast.”

The prime minister’s silence has sparked speculation that he fears that anything said now could backfire later if he himself faces a fixed fine.

The issue could prove vital for Mr Johnson’s future as it will be more difficult for him to hold on to office if he is shown to have broken the law or misled parliament.

Mr Raab may have denied the prime minister a possible line of defense against allegations of law-breaking with his comments in a round of broadcast interviews Wednesday morning, in which he said it was “inevitable” that FPNs were only issued to “those who broke the rules.” .

The minister also accepted that Mr Johnson may have said things “that turned out to be untrue” when he assured MPs in the House of Commons that no rules had been broken in No 10.

But he insisted there was no “intent to mislead” as the prime minister “had updated parliament to the best of his knowledge and understanding”.

Under lingering questions during a 90-minute session of the House of Commons Liaison Committee, Johnson repeatedly insisted that he would not provide “ongoing comment” on the Partygate investigation or speak about it publicly until the trial was over. rounded.

After refusing to say whether he had received an FPN himself, Pete Wishart, an SNP MP, told him: “Prime Minister, we don’t expect you to provide a running comment, that’s clear. But if you… you’re quite the toast, aren’t you?’

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.”

Previously, the prime minister faced calls for “resignation” when he fended questions about Partygate in the House of Commons.

Sir Keir Starmer told the Prime Minister’s questions that the Met’s decision to impose fines indicated there was “widespread crime” in Mr Johnson’s Downing Street.

“The ministerial code says that ministers who knowingly mislead the House must resign,” the Labor leader said. “Why is he still here?”

Mr Johnson replied, “Of course the Met, the researchers, should continue with their work, but in the meantime, we will continue with our work.”

Sir Keir replied that the Prime Minister was either “breaking up the ministerial code, or he claims that he has been repeatedly lied to by his own advisers that he did not know what was going on in his own home and office”.

Sir Keir accused Mr Johnson of believing he can “pass crime in his office and ask others to follow the law”, Sir Keir asked: “When is he going to stop taking the British public for fools?”

A Labor spokesman later said it was “totally untenable” for Downing Street to “refuse to recognize what is a factual and legal statement – which is that issuing 20 fixed fines proves that there has been crime in the Downing program.” of Boris Johnson. Street”.

Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain, a former police officer, said: It’s completely absurd that Boris Johnson still won’t accept that the lockdown parties in Downing Street have broken the law.

“This stubborn denial goes against the evidence. It shows that Johnson has learned no lessons from this scandal and is still fooling the British people.

“As a former police officer, I know what people do to answer questions. These excuses wouldn’t cut it then and they won’t cut it with the public now.”

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