Question Time Row Erupts Over Partygate: 'If We Can't Trust The PM, It All Falls Apart!'

·3 min read
The Mirror's Alison Phillips and a member of the BBC Question Time audience (Photo: BBC Question Time)
The Mirror's Alison Phillips and a member of the BBC Question Time audience (Photo: BBC Question Time)

The editor of the Mirror clashed with an audience member about the importance of partygate during Thursday’s BBC Question Time.

The series of parties said to have taken place in Downing Street throughout various lockdowns is the subject of an internal inquiry run by civil servant Sue Gray and a separate investigation by the Met Police.

Many people are eagerly awaiting the findings of Gray’s report in particular, as it could push Tory backbenchers to oust the prime minister.

Alison Phillips, whose newspaper broke the first partygate story back in November, emphasised “those that makes the rules have to live by the rules”.

The journalist said: “A, I cannot believe people would be that stupid to do something like this at that point, and b, we were all sat on home.

“No-one was doing anything like this. So do they think they’re all on some higher plane to the rest of us?”

“This came on the back of last year when we had broken the story about Dominic Cummings gong to Barnard Castle.

“Again, at the time we thought, ’I can’t believe this – no-one I know is going out the front door, let alone going to Barnard Castle.’”

She continued: “It was obvious why he [the prime minister] would stand by this man because they were all at it all the time.

“It does matter – those that make the rules have to live by the rules.

“Our democracy is based on trust and decency and honesty.

“If we can’t trust the prime minister, it just all falls apart.”

However, a member of the audience disagreed.

Addressing Phillips, she said: “I’m sick of the journalists, I’m sick of the media – you’ve said yourself that you’ve never voted Conservative, so straight away you’re going to go gunning aren’t you?”

Referring to the photo where Downing Street staff and Johnson (along with his wife) were picturing drinking on No.10′s terrace during May 2020, she said: “If that was a party, then don’t invite me because I wouldn’t be bothered to put lipstick on to go to it.”

“Those people were working together,” she said, adding: “All this rubbish, absolute nonsense, about parties this, dogs this, something else!”

The audience member also pointed that other “things are happening” – such as the tensions between Ukraine and Russia – and “we could be on the step of a third world war and you’re talking about cheese and wine”.

The Mirror editor then pointed out, “we have got the police investigating it as well,” only for the audience member to add, “oh yeah, good”, before putting her face mask back on and withdrawing from the conversation.

Gray’s report into partygate was expected to be published this week but it keeps being pushed back following the Met’s decision to also launch an investigation.

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

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