Boris Johnson Refuses To Say If He Would Quit If Fined Over Partygate

But Europe minister James Cleverly indicated the PM would stay on even if he received a fixed penalty notice from the police.
Johnson said there was 'not a jot' he could say about the Met's investigation into alleged Downing Street parties.
Johnson said there was 'not a jot' he could say about the Met's investigation into alleged Downing Street parties.
BBC Sunday Morning

Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to say whether he will resign if he is fined over partygate— despite one minister suggesting he would not quit.

The prime minister has now handed a questionnaire into the Metropolitan Police as part of its inquiry, named Operation Hillman, into the alleged parties in Downing Street that have rocked his premiership.

Scotland Yard announced that it was sending a questionnaire to approximately 50 people who are thought to have attended events during the pandemic, when gatherings were illegal.

Among them is Johnson, who admitted he attended a “bring your own booze” event on May 20, 2020, while No.10 also confirmed he attended a small celebration to mark his birthday in June the same year.

But in an interview with the BBC, Johnson repeatedly refused to answer questions on the investigation and what it might mean for his premiership.

“Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to give you full and detailed answers on all this stuff,” he told the BBC’s Sunday Morning Programme.

“I genuinely can’t because we’ve got a process under way — there is not a jot I can say until it is done.

“I understand your curiosity, I totally accept it, but you’re just going to have to accept for the time being — and you won’t have long, I hope — but for the time being you’re going to have to contain your interest.

“I will be saying a lot more about it in due course.”

Pressed on whether he was “burying his head in the sand” over the scandal that has led some MPs to demand his resignation, Johnson attempted to move the conversation on to the crisis engulfing Ukraine.

“I am fortunate to live in a democracy,” he said.

“I am fortunate to be the PM of a free independent democratic country where people can take that sort of decision, and where I do face that sort of pressure, that’s a wonderful thing.”

His comments come as Europe minister James Cleverly indicated the prime minister would not quit if he was found to have broken the law.

Asked whether Johnson would resign if he received a fixed penalty notice from the police, Cleverly told Trevor Phillips on Sky News: “I don’t think what the country needs at the moment is a vacuum at the centre of government when we are dealing with our recovery from Covid, the accumulation of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, making sure that the the health service is able to deal with the sad, the unfortunate but nevertheless obvious, backlog that’s been created by Covid.

“That’s what the country needs. That’s what I believe the prime minister should be doing.”

Phillips said: “I’m taking that as a no, minister.”

“That’s exactly how you should be taking it,” Cleverly replied.


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