UK PM to deny breaking Covid rules – media

Boris Johnson will claim he did not knowingly violate lockdown rules, the British press saysUK PM to deny breaking Covid rules – media

UK PM to deny breaking Covid rules – media

FILE PHOTO © AFP / Dan Kitwood

UK PM Boris Johnson plans to brush off the latest development in the Partygate scandal, arguing he had no idea he was breaking lockdown rules when he attended, and allegedly even “instigated,” a going-away party for his communications director, Lee Cain, according to Downing Street sources who spoke to The Times on Monday.

A person close to the PM suggested Johnson would acknowledge “mistakes were made” while telling Conservative MPs there was “always an exemption for work and people were working in close proximity in No. 10 for very long hours.”

Johnson would plead ignorance due to the timing of the party, which took place at 2pm in the afternoon, the source continued, explaining “If you go to something where you’re giving a speech, you’re not partying, so from his point of view, it’s his place of work, going to events in a work capacity, that’s the context in which these events happened.”

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The source went on to predict Johnson will attempt to minimize the controversy while “outlin[ing]” his version of events during his first meeting with MPs since paying a fine on Tuesday for breaking lockdown restrictions.

At the time, he said he wanted to “offer a full apology,” though qualified his repentance by insisting he was only present for “less than 10 minutes” and claimed he had no idea it could have been a breach of his administration’s famously harsh lockdown rules. 

Now faced with accusations of playing a central role in the going-away party for Cain, Johnson has denied he “instigated” the event and claimed he was not involved “until he arrived.” However, the Sunday Times has reported there are ample photos of the PM mingling and pouring drinks, including for himself, and a source has confirmed Johnson’s behavior to the paper.

Another Downing Street source countered that Johnson would “of course apologize again,” while admitting he would also attempt to shift attention away from the scandal by declaring: “We need to continue to focus on the huge priorities we need to deliver for people.”


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