Latest on Boris Johnson 'Partygate' probe report

By Rob Picheta, CNN

Updated 4:25 PM ET, Mon January 31, 2022
28 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
11:30 a.m. ET, January 31, 2022

Analysis: A ferocious, undignified hour in British politics

Analysis from CNN's Luke McGee in London

Prime Minister Boris Johnson listens as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer responds to his statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report on January 31.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson listens as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer responds to his statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report on January 31. (House of Commons/PA Images/Getty Images)

Boris Johnson opened his statement in the House of Commons by saying “sorry."

He said he was sorry for the things that he and his government “simply didn’t get right." He said it is no use defending what happened in Downing Street as “within the rules." He said he will make changes to the Downing Street operation and that he understood the anger felt by members of the public.

Then he went on the offensive.

He told lawmakers that “yes, we can be trusted.” He listed what he perceived were his achievements, among them getting Brexit done, delivering a vaccine rollout faster than anywhere in Europe.

Then things got very ugly.

Leader of the opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, said that Johnson was a man who had throughout his life “damaged everything and everyone around him."

Johnson responded by attacking Starmer’s time as Director of Public Prosecution, saying that he had failed to prosecute Britain’s most notorious paedophile.

Ian Blackford, leader of the Scottish National Party, was thrown from the House for calling the Prime Minister a liar.

Members of his own party publicly withdrew their support for the Prime Minister.

Johnson has historically been rewarded whenever he takes a bullish, aggressive line against his opponents. However, this time might be different.

Government advisors are seriously worried that Johnson’s non-apology will not come across to the public as a man who understands what has gone wrong, but a callous man who is more interested in clinging to power than being held responsible.

It’s been a ferocious, undignified hour in British politics. Previous occasions where debate has reached such anger have been on matters of war and peace; life and death.

Ahead of his statement, Conservative sources said Johnson’s fate would rest on the balance between contrition and kicking the can.

As things stand, the Prime Minister has spent significantly more time attacking his opponents and boasting about his successes in office than apologizing for an offence that could still bring down his government.

11:09 a.m. ET, January 31, 2022

Johnson struggles to bat back angry MPs

Boris Johnson is responding to angry questions by MPs by saying they must continue to wait for the findings of an ongoing police investigation -- a defensive line that follows weeks of claiming they must wait for Sue Gray to report her conclusions.

He is being met with loud jeers every time he resorts to that defence.

"The Prime Minister thinks this is fine. So just how bad do things have to be before he takes personal responsibility, does what everybody in this country wants him to do, and resign?" Labour MP Angela Eagle asked.

11:07 a.m. ET, January 31, 2022

Conservative backbencher says he can't support Boris Johnson any more

Boris Johnson is being lambasted from all sides in Parliament, as he bats back furious interventions from MPs.

Andrew Mitchell, a Conservative backbencher, was intensely critical of Johnson and said "he no longer enjoys my support."

Johnson could face a vote of no confidence if enough Tories call for one.

Mitchell's comments followed an angry rebuke from Theresa May, Johnson's predecessor in Downing Street.

11:01 a.m. ET, January 31, 2022

Boris Johnson misled Parliament, opposition MP says

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford responds to a statement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report on January 31.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford responds to a statement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report on January 31. (House of Commons/PA Images/Getty Images)

Ian Blackford, the leader of the Scottish National Party, accused Johnson of misleading Parliament over a party in his Downing Street apartment -- causing a brief uproar in the Commons, as some Conservatives called for him to be removed from the chamber.

Blackford said "nobody believed" Johnson's denials that he knowingly attended a garden party.

He said he has "wilfully misled Parliament" -- but amended the word to "inadvertently" after the Speaker intervened.

"This murky business is tainting everything around it," Blackford said.

10:55 a.m. ET, January 31, 2022

Johnson's predecessor Theresa May skewers Prime Minister in Parliament

Theresa May, whom Boris Johnson replaced as Prime Minister, criticized Johnson in the wake of the Gray report.

She told lawmakers that Johnson "imposed significant restrictions on freedoms" of British citizens.

"They had a right to expect their Prime Minister to have read the rules, to understand the meaning of the rules," she said.

She told the House: "Either (Johnson) had not read the rules, or didn’t understand what they meant, or they didn’t think the rules applied to Number 10. Which was it?"

10:55 a.m. ET, January 31, 2022

Starmer calls on Tories to oust Johnson

Responding to Boris Johnson, Keir Starmer condemned “the bonfire that is his leadership,” and called on Conservative lawmakers to “spare the country” by removing him.

Johnson attacked Starmer for discussing a police investigation, and pivoted again to discussing the Ukraine border crisis and his government's Brexit policy.

"I have complete confidence in the police … I don’t propose to offer any more commentary about it," Johnson said.

10:44 a.m. ET, January 31, 2022

Boris Johnson should go, Labour leader says

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer responds to a statement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report on January 31.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer responds to a statement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report on January 31. (House of Commons/PA Images/Getty Images)

Opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer is responding to Johnson's speech, telling lawmakers "there is evidence of serious and flagrant breaches of lockdown."

"There can be no doubt that the Prime Minister himself is now subject to criminal investigation," Starmer said.

He urged the government to publish the full report when it is ready, but added that "it is already clear that the report discloses the most damning conclusion possible."

Starmer repeated calls for Johnson to resign, calling the PM a "man without shame."

11:07 a.m. ET, January 31, 2022

Johnson says he is "getting on with the job"

Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report on January 31.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on the Sue Gray report on January 31. (House of Commons/PA Images/Getty Images)

Boris Johnson is touting his government's actions on Brexit and crime as he attempts to draw a line under the parties scandal -- but he has been met with jeers from opposition MPs.

He said he "gets" public anger, but that his focus is now "getting on with the job."

"I get it, and I will fix it," Johnson said.

10:38 a.m. ET, January 31, 2022

Boris Johnson says "sorry" for lockdown parties during the pandemic

Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a statement to MPs in the House of Commons, London, England, on the Sue Gray report on January 31
Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a statement to MPs in the House of Commons, London, England, on the Sue Gray report on January 31 (House of Commons/PA Images/Reuters)

Boris Johnson is addressing MPs after the Sue Gray report was published. "Firstly I want to say sorry," he said.

"I’m sorry for the things we simply didn’t get right," he added. "This pandemic was hard for everyone … I understand the anger that people feel."

Johnson said the government "must look ourselves in the mirror" and added he would make changes in Downing Street.