'A New Low': Boris Johnson Accused Of Using Ukraine As 'Political Shield' For Partygate

Prime minister acknowledges “anger” over Covid rule-breaking – but claims it means he has a greater "obligation" to help defeat Putin.

Boris Johnson has faced a backlash for using the plight of Ukrainians as a “shield” as the prime minister apologised for breaking coronavirus laws.

On Tuesday, the PM insisted he did not know he was breaching his own rules as he faced MPs in the Commons a week after being issued a police fine.

Amid Tory discontent, with former chief whip Mark Harper telling Johnson he is no longer “worthy” of being premier, the PM bundled together his explanation for the fixed-penalty notice with Vladamir Putin’s “barbaric onslaught against Ukraine”.

In fact, he suggested the “angry and disappointed” the British public felt over partygate meant he had an “even greater sense of obligation” to lead the country’s response to the war.

Johnson told MPs:

“I respect the outcome of the police investigation, which is still under way, and I can only say that I will respect their decision-making and always take the appropriate steps and, as the House will know, I have already taken significant steps to change the way things work in No 10.

“And it is precisely because I know that so many people are angry and disappointed that I feel an even greater sense of obligation to deliver on the priorities of the British people, and to respond in the best traditions of our country to Putin’s barbaric onslaught against Ukraine.”

In the chamber, as Conservative MPs repeatedly referred to the war in Ukraine, Labour MP Jess Phillips suggested Johnson “seeks cover” by referring to the invasion, which is “shameful”. The sentiment was echoed on social media.

It comes as MPs were granted a vote later this week on Johnson’s alleged lying against a backdrop of reports he could be issued more fines for breaking lockdown rules.

Johnson’s comments to parliament come as Ukraine says the “battle for the Donbas” has begun, with the concentration of Russian forces in the eastern industrial heartlands likely to trigger the fiercest fighting yet – and requests from Volodymyr Zelenskyy for more Western support.


What's Hot