LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine): Labour’s Angela Rayner has stated that Boris Johnson “can run, but not hide” over reports of him attending drinks during lockdown in the garden of Downing Street. The gathering seems to have put Mr. Johnson under scrutiny.
The deputy leader of the party demanded explanations in the Commons about the reported gathering on May 20, 2020.
Minister Michael Ellis stood in for the boss saying the PM didn’t directly face the questions.
Before any conclusions had been reached, Mr. Ellis stated that “a fair and unbiased investigation” was necessary.
He also stated that the investigation, which would be overseen by Sue Gray, senior civil servant, will be “quick” and the findings will be made public.
Mr. Ellis warned, though, that there was a possibility of her investigation being “paused” in case the Metropolitan Police, which has stated it was in touch with the government about “widespread reports relating to potential violations” of Covid guidelines, decided to conduct its own investigations.
Numerous Conservative politicians have expressed their displeasure, with Douglas Ross, the party’s Scottish leader, suggesting Mr. Johnson should quit if he broke the rules and deceived Parliament.
He went on to say that instead of waiting for the results of Ms. Gray’s probe, the PM should respond to questions about the drinks event right away.
“I can’t see just how [Mr. Johnson] can survive,” Anthony Mullen, the Sunderland Conservatives’ leader, told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One.
ITV posted a leaked email from principal private secretary of the PM, Martin Reynolds, on Monday, inviting 100 colleagues to “socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden” on May 20, 2020.
The event’s invitation encouraged attendees to “bring your own booze” and “make the most of the lovely weather,” which was held while severe lockdown conditions were still in effect.
According to witnesses, the PM along with his wife Carrie were among the group of about 30 people who attended, although Mr. Johnson has refused to give confirmation or denial regarding this.
During the ongoing investigation, the PM’s official spokesman refused to comment on the allegations, although he did say that the prime minister had full faith in Mr. Reynolds.
The opposition benches in the Commons erupted in rage as Labour confronted the government on the charges.
Mr. Johnson wasn’t present to answer Ms. Rayner’s questions, which Ms. Rayner found disappointing.
“However, his absence, as well as his smirks in the media, speak volumes,” she continued, “and the public has already taken its own conclusions. He may be able to run, but he cannot hide.”
Mr. Ellis, the minister, stated that it was not his place to “make a judgement or pass punishment.”