Labour MP for Wallasey Angela Eagle has demanded to know why Prime Minister Boris Johnson is holding himself to ‘lower standards’ than colleagues who have resigned over breaching COVID guidelines.
The confrontation in the House of Commons happened on Tuesday when Johnson once again apologised over the partygate scandal after receiving and paying a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) from the Metropolitian Police for breaking his own coronavirus guidelines.
The Prime Minister, wife Carrie Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak received an FPN for attending a birthday gathering for Mr Johnson at 10 Downing Street on June 19, 2020.
Dame Angela said: “The Prime Minister accepted the health secretary’s resignation for breaking COVID guidance, not COVID laws.
“The Prime Minister then accepted Allegra Stratton’s resignation for joking that the parties that were so frequent in Downing Street [they] were a business event.
“He is now using her joke as his defence. Why is he holding himself to lower standards than the people whose resignations he accepted?”
Government resignations over COVID
Mr Johnson accepted former health secretary Matt Hancock’s resignation in June last year after he was caught on camera kissing colleague Gina Coladangelo, breaching social distancing guidance.
In December, Downing Street press secretary Allegra Stratton resigned and made a tearful apology over video footage showing her joking with No 10 staff about holding a Christmas party and discussing how it should be described.
On Tuesday, Mr Johnson said: “It did not occur to me then or subsequently that a gathering in the cabinet room, just before a vital meeting on COVID strategy, could amount to a breach of the rules. That was my mistake and I apologise for it unreservedly.”
In January, the Prime Minister apologised for attending a Downing Street garden party in May 2020, saying he believed it was a work event.
Prime Minister’s reponse to Angela Eagle
Mr Johnson responded to the Wallasey MP by apologising again: “All I can say is that I apologise for what I got wrong. I have explained to the House why I spoke in the House as I did, and what I want to do is get on with the job of the Government in taking this country forward.
“That is what we are going to do.”
Labour accuse PM of ‘gaslighting’
Labour MP for Sefton Central Bill Esterton warned Mr Johnson was ‘not fit to be prime minister’.
The Prime Minister is trying to shore up support amongst Conservative MPs before a vote on Thursday over whether a commitee should investigate him for misleading Parliament.