Keir Starmer Accuses Boris Johnson Of Breaking The Law Over Covid Parties

·3 min read
Sir Keir Starmer being interviewed by host Sophie Raworth during the BBC1 current affairs programme, Sunday Morning.  (Photo: Jeff Overs/BBC via PA Media)
Sir Keir Starmer being interviewed by host Sophie Raworth during the BBC1 current affairs programme, Sunday Morning. (Photo: Jeff Overs/BBC via PA Media)

Sir Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson of breaking the law by having parties at Downing Street during lockdown.

The lawyer and former director of public prosecutions upped his attacks on Johnson today as the prime minister was engulfed in multiple party scandals.

In an interview with the BBC’s Sunday Morning, he said: “I think he broke the law, he’s as good as admitted he broke the law.

“Downing Street has now apologised to the Queen for some of the parties that have gone on.

“I know that the government’s holding position is ‘let’s all wait for the Sue Gray report’.

“But I think it’s pretty obvious what’s happened, this industrial-scale partying had been going on at Downing Street, not much of it is really denied, and I think that the public have made up their mind.

“I think the facts speak for themselves. I think the prime minister broke the law, I think he then lied about what had happened.”

A protestor in Parliament Square in Westminster, London. (Photo: Dominic Lipinski - PA Images via Getty Images)
A protestor in Parliament Square in Westminster, London. (Photo: Dominic Lipinski - PA Images via Getty Images)

Allegations include staff wheeling in a drinks fridge, filling up suitcases with alcohol, a “Bring Your Own Booze” event in the garden, scheduled “wine time Fridays” and two parties on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral. The parties and allegations are under investigation by senior civil servant Sue Gray.

Asked if the police are right to wait for Gray’s inquiry before investigating, Starmer said: “Once Sue Gray has come to her findings...I think that all of those should be passed to the police to look at.

“I don’t go along with this idea that we’ve all got to wait somehow, I think it’s blindingly obvious what has happened.”

Starmer also repeated his calls that Johnson should resign, claiming he had “degraded” the office of prime minister and “lost all authority” in the country.

The MP for Holborn and St Pancras said he had previously resisted calling for Johnson to go, but it was in the “national interest” that he steps down.

Labour has been boosted by polling which put the party 10 points ahead of the Tories.

This weekend Starmer pledged to preside over a government with “integrity” that could “restore trust” if he wins the next election.

A survey by Opinium put Labour on 41 per cent of the vote share, with the Conservatives on 31 per cent.

The polling company said Johnson’s approval rating had plummeted to minus 42 per cent – almost a 20 point fall in a week – and that almost two-thirds of people surveyed thought he should stand down.

It comes as a sixth Tory MP called for Johnson to quit over the way he has handled the revelations.

Former children’s minister Tim Loughton said the PM’s position had become “untenable” and that his “resignation is the only way to bring this whole unfortunate episode to an end”.

Defending the prime minister this morning, a cabinet minister said he was “contrite” over the allegations and will seek to “address the underlying culture in Downing Street” that led to partygate.

Conservative party chairman Oliver Dowden told the BBC: “I can assure you the prime minister is both very contrite and deeply apologetic for what happened.

“But, more importantly, he is determined to make sure that this can’t be allowed to happen and that we address the underlying culture in Downing Street.

“There were failings: we should have done better, much, much better. We need to up our game, and that needs to be addressed, and I know the prime minister is committed to addressing that.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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