Jacob Rees-Mogg Clashes With Naga Munchetty Over Partygate 'Non-Story'

The cabinet minister said the covid rules had been too strict and "there are other things going on that are more important".
Naga Munchetty clashed with Jacob Rees-Mogg
Naga Munchetty clashed with Jacob Rees-Mogg
BBC

Jacob Rees-Mogg clashed with the BBC’s Naga Munchetty after she asked him about more than 100 fines being issued to Downing Street staff over partygate.

The cabinet minister insisted it was a “non-story” and that the public had now moved on from the scandal of lockdown-breaking parties in Number 10 and Whitehall.

He also took aim at the BBC, who he said had “loved” covering the story.

The Metropolitan Police announced yesterday that the number of fixed penalty notices they had issued over the affair had doubled to more than 100, with the investigation continuing.

Munchetty asked Rees-Mogg for his reaction to the news when he appeared on BBC Breakfast.

The BBC presenter asked Rees-Mogg whether the news that more than 100 Downing Street staff have now been fined for breaking lockdown rules “reflected well on this Conservative government”.

Rees-Mogg said: “I’m afraid I think this is a non-story. The BBC has absolutely loved it, but what is important is we get on with the business of government.”

Munchetty then interjected to ask: “Why do you think this is a non-story? Have you not heard people upset, genuinely devastated, that people in Downing Street thought it was OK to break the rules that they set while other people didn’t break the rules and missed out on meeting dying family members?”

Rees-Mogg replied: “I think people were upset. I think this was an important story in February when it first became known, and that there was great concern and there was a feeling of people who were bereaved particularly about it.

“I also think we need to look in the inquiry at the rules to see if they were proportionate.”

The minister said the rules were “too restrictive” because they prevented people from “giving comfort to the dying”.

Munchetty then asked: “Can I just understand your interpretation of where we are with the rules and why you think this is a non-story? So, the fact that more than 100 fines have been issued in a non-story because the rules that were set in the first place were too rigorous?”

The minister said: “What I’m saying is the fines are a consequence of things we knew in February and it was a story in February and people now know about it and have made their judgment on it and there are other things going on that are more important.”

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