Boris Johnson Dodges Questions Four Times Over His Partygate Fine

The prime minister says people will have to wait until he "sets the record straight" in parliament next week.
Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to answer questions about the fine he received for breaking his own lockdown rules.

The prime minister has been handed fixed penalty notice for attending his own birthday party in June 2020 while England was under strict restrictions that banned indoor gatherings.

Despite breaking the law, Johnson has ignored demands that he resign.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday morning in Kent as he unveiled plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, the PM was asked repeatedly to offer more of an explanation for his actions.

But he dodged four questions from journalists on the partygate scandal.

Q1: “About the fine you received early this week. Do you still think you have the moral authority to govern?”

“What would you say to the people watching at home who think you have been guilty of hypocrisy of not following the rules you told them they must follow?

“And what would you say to the MPs who think you lied to them?”

Boris Johnson: “I said quite a lot about this - I think it was on Tuesday - I will be saying more when I update parliament, as you can imagine, next week. You’ll probably have to wait for me to say more on that.”

Q2: “A quick question because I’m not patient enough to wait. On Tuesday you admitted you unknowingly mislead parliament. I just want to understand if you’re going to put the record straight?”

Johnson: “You are going to have to wait until I come to parliament when of course I will set the record straight in any way that I can.”

Q3: “You told the Commons on December 28: ‘It goes without saying that if rules were broken then there will be disciplinary action for all those involved.’

“When you go to parliament and you speak to MPs, will you detail what the disciplinary action is that you’ve imposed on those who work for you and indeed yourself?”

Johnson: “I can certainly tell you I will be updating parliament on all that next week.”

Q4: “On the party situation you faced. Why do we have to wait another week? Can you tell us whether or not you rule out resigning. Whether you faced one, two, three or more fines?”

Johnson: “I redirect you to what I said earlier on, that won’t give you any particular surprise. I said quit a lot about this earlier in the week. I think I should wait until parliament gets back to update parliament fully.”

The PM is said to have attended six of the 12 parties under investigation by the police.

And according to multiple reports, including in The Guardian, The Mirror and The Daily Telegraph, Johnson could face further fines.

Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, was also fined by police for making an appearance at the party.

Johnson looks to be currently secure in his position, with many Tory MPs nervous about launching a leadership contest amid the war in Ukraine.

But Conservative peer David Wolfson said he had “no option” other than to quit as a justice minister on Wednesday given the PM’s lawbreaking.

Earlier, Welsh Secretary Simon Hart suggested Johnson would not resign even if he was fined again.

He told Times Radio: “I don’t necessarily see the difference between one or two (fines), for example, the principle is the same.

“I personally don’t think that for people in public life – or any other walk of life, for that matter – that should necessarily be accompanied by another penalty, which is the removal of your job or similar.”

More than 50 fines have been referred to the Acro Criminal Records Office since the Met’s inquiry started.

Speaking to broadcasters at his country residence, Chequers, on Tuesday, Johnson said it “did not occur” to him at the time he might be breaching his own Covid rules.


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