Visibly emotional Boris Johnson says ‘nobody told me’ he was breaking lockdown rules amid accusations he knew May 2020 event was a party

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson said he had not lied over acccusations that he knew a lockdown-busting drinks event was a party.
His former chief aide said the PM lied in Parliament when he claimed he didn’t know about the party in advance.
Johnson said Tuesday: “Nobody told me that what we were doing was against the rules.”

A visibly emotional Boris Johnson said nobody had told him he was breaking any lockdown rules when he attended a “bring your own booze” drinks event in May 2020.

“Nobody told me that what we were doing was against the rules, that the event in question was something that wasn’t a work event,” the prime minister told Sky News on Tuesday.

“As I said in the House of Commons, when I went out into that garden I thought that I was attending a work event.”

His comments came after his former chief advisor, Dominic Cummings, accused him of lying in Parliament about the gathering.

—Sky News (@SkyNews) January 18, 2022

In a Monday blog post, Cummings claimed that the prime minister misled the House of Commons when he said he had no advance knowledge of a Downing Street party held in May 2020.

The allegations are particularly serious for Johnson because misleading parliament is typically considered a serious enough breach of rules to warrant resignation.

Cummings, who became a vocal critic of the prime minister after leaving Downing Street in 2020, said he tried to persuade Johnson to cancel the “bring your own booze” event.

He said he told Johnson: “You’ve got to get a grip of this madhouse.”

Cummings claimed Johnson “waved it aside” and that he also warned Martin Reynolds, the civil servant who organised the party, that it was in breach of the rules.

—Dominic Cummings (@Dominic2306) January 17, 2022

The prime minister told Sky News on Tuesday: “I’m saying categorically that nobody told me — nobody said this was something that was against the rules, doing something that wasn’t a work event.

“Because frankly, I can’t imagine why it would have gone ahead, or why it would have been allowed to go ahead if it was against the rules.”

“My memory is going out into the garden for about 25 minutes, which I implicitly thought was a work event, and talking to staff, thanking staff.

“I then went back to my office and continued my work.”

Johnson also said he had personally apologised to the Queen after a report said Downing Street staff held an illicit party on the eve of her husband Prince Philip’s funeral. 

“I deeply and bitterly regret that that happened. I can only renew my apologies both to Her Majesty and to the country for misjudgments that were made and for which I take full responsibility.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Tuesday broke his silence over the alleged parties, and abruptly walked out of an interview after fielding questions on the issue.

Asked if he believed the prime minister’s denials of Cummings’s allegations, Sunak replied: “Of course I do. The prime minister set out his understanding of this matter in parliament last week.”

—Joe Pike (@joepike) January 18, 2022


The chancellor did not deny that Boris Johnson could be forced to resign if he was found to have misled parliament.

He said: “The ministerial code is clear on these matters.”

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves accused Sunak of “running scared.”

“Rishi Sunak is running scared once again. Instead of setting out a plan to tackle the Conservatives’ cost of living crisis – he dodges scrutiny and defends the bungling Prime Minister.

“When the Vanishing Chancellor reappears, he has a choice. He can continue his inaction and clobber our communities with tax rises and surging energy bills,” she said in a statement.

“Or he can back Labour’s plan to offer security, prosperity and respect to Britain – supporting families with fully-funded measures to save most households around £200 or more on their energy bills.”


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