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Boris Johnson news – live: PM ‘categorically’ denies knowing party broke rules and won’t rule out resigning

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Sam Hancock
Tuesday 18 January 2022 14:13
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Boris Johnson says ‘nobody told me’ Downing Street party broke lockdown rules

Boris Johnson says he “categorically” was not warned that a garden party in No 10 during lockdown would breach the Covid rules, despite Dominic Cummings claiming otherwise.

Mr Cummings, a former Downing Street adviser, said on Monday that his former boss not only had prior knowledge of the event, but encouraged it to go ahead and attended knowing full-well “it was actually a drinks party”. If found to be true, this would call into question the statement Mr Johnson gave to the Commons last week, in which he said he inherently believed the gathering was a “work event”.

Fighting for his political life, Mr Johnson was asked earlier whether he could resign over the so-called partygate scandal. He replied: “We’ll have to see what [the internal inquiry by Sue Gray] says.”

Six Tory MPs have already called for the prime minister to step down, with the governing party tanking in the polls and now at least 10 points behind Labour.

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‘End of the road’: Labour responds to PM’s claim he didn’t lie

Despite Boris Johnson “categorically” denying he knew about a pre-planned drinks party in No 10, critics are continuing to wage a war on the PM.

Angela Rayner, deputy Labour leader, has said it is clear Johnson “knows it’s the end of the road”.

“He’s the prime minister, he set the rules, he didn’t need anyone to tell him that the party he attended broke them,” she said in a statement released by her party’s press office.

“If he had any respect for the British public, he would do the decent thing and resign.”

It comes after at least six of his own MPs called for the same outcome.

Sam Hancock18 January 2022 14:13
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Boris Johnson ‘renews apology’ to the Queen

More from our politics reporter Adam Forrest now:

Boris Johnson sighed, looked down and shook his head when about Downing Street having to apologise to the Queen over No 10 leaving events the night before Prince Philip’s funeral last April.

Asked if it was a moment of “shame”, Mr Johnson said. “I deeply and bitterly regret that that happened. And I can only renew my apologies to Her Majesty and to the country for misjudgements that were made, and for which I take full responsibility.”

He added: “I am heartily, heartily sorry for misjudgements that were made in No 10.”

Sam Hancock18 January 2022 13:53
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Watch: PM says ‘nobody told me’ Downing St party was unlawful

Boris Johnson says ‘nobody told me’ Downing Street party broke lockdown rules
Sam Hancock18 January 2022 13:50
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PM repeatedly denies knowing No 10 garden party broke Covid rules

Here’s Adam Forrest with a bit more detail on what the PM is claiming:

Boris Johnson has “categorically” denied anyone warned him that a drinks gathering he attended in the Downing Street garden in May 2020 could be in breach of lockdown rules.

Asked if he had lied in parliament, Mr Johnson: “No,” adding: “Nobody told me the event was, as you say, against the rules … that we were going to do something that wasn’t a work event.”

Asked if again if was rejecting Dominic Cummings’ claim he was warned against the event, he said: “I can tell you categorically that nobody told me, and nobody said that this was something that was against the rules.

“Because frankly I can’t imagine why on earth it would have gone ahead, why it would have been allowed to go ahead.”

He added: “My memory of this event, as I’ve said, is going out into the garden for 25 minutes for what I implicitly thought was a work event, and talking to staff, thanking staff … That is what I’ve said to the [Sun Gray] inquiry. We’ll have to see what they say.”

Mr Johnson said he had seen the email from his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds inviting staff to a “bring your own booze” event. “I saw it the other day – I only saw it when it emerged,” he said.

Asked if he could resign if he was found to have misled parliament, he said: “Let’s see what the report says … we’ve got to wait for the outcome of the report.”

Sam Hancock18 January 2022 13:49
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BREAKING: PM ‘categorically’ denies Cummings’ garden party claims

Boris Johnson has said he “categorically” was not warned that a garden party in No 10 at the height of lockdown would breach the Covid rules.

Asked whether he could resign over the scandal, as six of his own MPs have urged, the prime minister said: “We’ll have to see what [the internal inquiry] says.”

Follow our policy correspondent Jon Stone’s breaking report:

Boris Johnson ‘categorically’ denies party claims but does not rule out resigning

Boris Johnson has said he “categorically” was not warned that a garden party in No 10 at the height of lockdown would breach the Covid rules.

Sam Hancock18 January 2022 13:33
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Rishi Sunak ends interview abruptly when repeatedly asked about partygate

As per the recent video (12.55pm), Rishi Sunak said he believed Boris Johnson’s explanation over a drinks event in the Downing Street garden – but abruptly ended an interview when repeatedly asked about the partygate scandal.

Adam Forrest has the story:

Rishi Sunak ends interview abruptly when repeatedly asked about partygate

‘Of course’, says chancellor when asked if he believes Boris Johnson’s explanation

Ella Glover18 January 2022 13:25
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Sajid Javid to launch ‘war on cancer’ following pandemic

Sajid Javid has said he is working on a “new vision to radically improve the outcome of cancer patients” across the UK.

Asked what he is doing to improve cancer survival rates, Mr Javid said: “The pandemic has exposed huge health disparities in this country.

“It’s clear to me that we need to go much further on cancer - not only to catch up on cancer referrals, on diagnosis, on treatment and radical innovation, but to improve the persistently poor outcomes that patients in this country have long experienced compared to other countries.

“It’s time we launched a war on cancer and I’m working on a new vision to radically improve the outcome of cancer patients across the United Kingdom, and I’ll have more to say on this in due course.”

Ella Glover18 January 2022 13:15
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PM agrees that ministers who ‘knowingly’ mislead Commons should quit, says No 10

Boris Johnson supports and abides by rules which state that a minister who knowingly misleads parliament should resign, Downing Street has said.

It follows claims by Dominic Cummings that the PM intentionally mislead parliament when he said he was unaware of any parties in Downing Street.

Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab this morning said that a prime minister would “normally” be expected to quit if he intentionally misled parliament.

His statement was backed by Mr Johnson’s official spokesperson, who told a regular daily Westminster media briefing: “The ministerial code is very clear on this point, when it comes to knowingly misleading the House, and the prime minister abides by that and we fully support it.”

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has the full story:

Boris Johnson agrees that ministers who ‘knowingly’ mislead Commons should quit

Boris Johnson supports and abides by rules which state that a minister who knowingly misleads parliament should resign, Downing Street has said.

Ella Glover18 January 2022 13:05
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Watch as Rishi Sunak walks out of interview after being asked if PM should resign

Asked if he believes the prime minister is telling the truth about the parties that took place during lockdown the chancellor said “of course.”

When asked if the PM should resign, Mr Sunak said he was not going to “get into hypotheticals” and referred to the inquiry being conducted by Sue Gray before swiftly leaving.

Rishi Sunak walks out of interview when asked if PM should resign
Ella Glover18 January 2022 12:55
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Wales’ economy minister calls for funding certainty and autonomy from UK government

Wales’ economy minister Vaughan Gething said “funding certainty and autonomy” is essential for wales to build up its economy following Brexit and the pandemic.

Speaking during a press briefing about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday, he said UK government policy is leaving Wales with “less say over less money”

He said: “We continue to face many economic challenges, particularly in light of the impact of leaving the European Union and the absence of a UK government plan for replacing EU funding and reducing inequalities across the UK.

“The people of Wales have not provided a mandate for the UK government to hijack money and decisions out of Wales.

“Funding certainty and autonomy will allow us to support the reconstruction of our Welsh economy, tailored to Wales’ needs. Following several years of engagement, we have published our plans with partners on how we can make that work.

“The approach the UK government is taking is a direct threat to this work. It currently leaves Wales with less say over less money.”

Ella Glover18 January 2022 12:45

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