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Watch: Welsh Secretary’s uncomfortable TV grilling on Boris Johnson’s ‘apology’

14 Jan 2022 4 minutes Read
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart being grilled by Fiona Bruce on Question Time. BBC

The Westminster-appointed Welsh Secretary faced an uncomfortable TV grilling las night about Boris Johnson’s “apology” amid a partygate scandal.

Simon Hart appeared to struggle to answer when he was repeatedly asked by BBC presenter Fiona Bruce on Question Time whether the Tory Prime Minster had apologised for attending the “bring your own booze” party in Downing Street.

Johnson is facing calls to quit after attending the party at the No 10 garden during the first coronavirus lockdown in May 2020, when the public was banned from household mixing.

In his statement to the Commons he claimed that he had believed it to be a work event, and was “technically within the rules” but added that he should have realised how it would look to the public.

Simon Hart said: “Anybody who knows the PM or who saw that and actually heard the words that he uttered yesterday, I genuinely don’t think could be anything other than convinced that was heartfelt, that was a genuine apology.”

Labour MP Jess Phillips during Simon Hart’s response
Labour MP Jess Phillips during Simon Hart’s response

‘So what do you think he was apologising for?’

Fiona Bruce said: “So what do you think he was apologising for? Was he apologising that he went to the party, or has Jess said that he was apologising for the perception that that gave?”

Hart quoted Johnson saying: “I did not get it right. I must take responsibility. In hindsight I should have sent everybody back inside. I should have recognised that even if it could fall within the guidance there would be millions and millions of people who would not see it that way.”

Bruce said: “So he wasn’t apologising for going to the party was he. Let’s be clear because that’s really important. Saw he apologising for going to the party? Yes or no? Would you answer that question?

Hart replied: “It’s the other bit I wanted to say.”

Bruce interjected, adding: “No, you don’t want to answer that question?”

Simon Hart being grilled by Fiona Bruce on Question Time. BBC

Hart replied: “I do. But I want to answer it by.”

Bruce interjected again, saying: “So was he apologising for going to the party or not?”

Hart continued: “I want to answer it by referring to the fact that.”

Bruce replied: “It’s a sort of yes or no really.

The Question Time audience started laughing.

Bruce asked the audience: “Did I miss something?”

She then asked Hart again: “Was he apologising for going to the party or not Simon?

Hart said: “I just. This is such a febrile subject. It’s obviously generated extraordinary.”

‘One more go’ 

Bruce said: “I’ll have one more go,” and then asked the audience “do you want to hear the answer to that or not?”. She then asked Hart one last time: “Was he apologising for going to the party or not? Yes or no?”

Simon Hart on Question Time. BBC

Hart said: “He was apologising for the whole sequence of events. I thought that was pretty clear in the chamber yesterday. But what I did, I try, if I can get a word in it is to say that I think it really is important that we give the sort of time and space necessary to Sue Grey, former head of propriety and ethics in the civil service, probably the most respected person in this area, to unpick all of this, and to actually present to all of us, all of us in parliament, whether it’s party members, whether it’s MPs, whether it’s opposition, whether it’s members of the public, precisely what the facts were.

“Lots of people have said to me ‘we don’t need an inquiry, we know what happened’. Actually I think we really do need an inquiry because that will be able to report without fear or favour precisely what happened and Boris Johnson has said he will come back and face colleagues, face people like Jess in that instance.

“But it’s really important, for me at any rate that we try to stand back from that and to try and be objective. I know that’s an unpopular view. I apologise for that if that’s an unpopular view. But I do think where there are so many families who are affected by it, it is important.”

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Erisian
Erisian
14 days ago

I think it is probably possible to fit on a postcard all the occasions when a politician has answered a question with a simple yes or no.
But even so, It’s hard to believe this man ever had the skills or integrity required for any public office higher than a parking enforcement officer.
Yet our ‘masters’ in London saw fit to make him secretary of state for Wales.

Gill Jones
Gill Jones
14 days ago
Reply to  Erisian

Firstly, there is one politician who always answers every question clearly with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and that is our Prif Weinidog, Mark Drakeford.
Secondly, the reason why Simon Fart is in the Cabinet is that Bojo surrounds himself with wholly incompetent lap-dogs to ensure that his own incompetence is so much less apparent.

Geraint
Geraint
14 days ago
Reply to  Erisian

You are right about him not being fit to be a cabinet minister. When you look at virtually every Tory SoS for Wales they usually never move on to be anything else significant in government after they leave the post and most have very little experience of government before they are promoted to the cabinet. At the end of the day the Welsh Tory MPs are usually pretty forgettable and even their Westminster masters don’t trust them very much. Just lobby fodder.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
14 days ago

Let the tories in Cymru keep getting on the wrong side of history, it will only do them electoral damage defending the indefensible

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
14 days ago

How about the fact that nobody accepts his “heartfelt apology” while he was smirking all the way through it?

Quornby
Quornby
14 days ago

Please headline reports about these grovellers with a reader discretion warning.

hdavies15
hdavies15
14 days ago

We are watching the death throes of an incompetent regime. Such events typically involve members of the regime engaging in denials and outright fabrication. Nothing new. Sadly what may replace this rabble will not be any better. Members of Labour and Lib Dems are already tainted and more will be when the full extent of Madame Lee’s activities become known. Corruption is rampant.

Erisian
Erisian
14 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Very true but, sadly, although incompetent at everything that matters to the country, they are quite competent at deceiving the electorate and winning elections

hdavies15
hdavies15
14 days ago
Reply to  Erisian

This lot have only won ONE, on a wave of bluster. Their predecessor, the equally incompetent but less devious/mendacious Mrs May nearly blew it when she went to the country in 2017. Her predecessor Cameron succeeded in 2015 but turned curly when his promised referendum didn’t go his way. He went cos he didn’t have a clue how to manage from there on. So, this recent history tells us that London centred governments don’t add up to much. Indeed they are so shockingly poor that it makes Drakeford and Co look illustrious! Maybe ARTD should dwell on that and fire… Read more »

George
George
14 days ago

While it’s very significant whether Boris was at the party or not, isn’t it also significant that Boris told MP’s in Westminster there hadn’t been rule breaking when it’s extremely difficult to believe that he didn’t know about rule breaking based on details of this event? Was he enacting his own “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy?

Why is it okay to believe Sue Gray will act without fear or favour? Her direct boss allegedly was at one of the parties, his direct boss is Boris Johnson.

Dewi Williams
Dewi Williams
14 days ago

What more evidence is needed. We’ve now witnessed the classic demeanour and performance of a lapdog who occupies a lapdog Post. However, the disturbing consequence is that this post and its occupant has been heaped on Wales as a token gesture. It is not only an embarrassment for Wales’s national image but also reminds us of our low rating as a constituent member in this UK club.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
14 days ago

He said the whole UK government was in this together – good – then they’ll all fall together starting with May’s elections. There really is no justification for ‘anyone’ to vote Tory. However, sadly many still will.

Grayham Jones
14 days ago

People in wales have got to stop supporting English party’s in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
13 days ago

English overseer to Wales Simon Hart is a weasel of a man. He defends the indefensible which is below contempt.

We must do everything in our power as voters to remove this cretinous Conservative from his seat if and when there’s another General Election.

Last edited 13 days ago by Y Cymro

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