Welsh Secretary says Prime Minister shouldn’t step down even if he receives multiple Partygate fines
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart says he doesn’t think the Prime Minister should resign even if he receives multiple fines as a result of the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Hillman probe into a series of parties that were held in Downing Street during the Covid lockdown.
Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak were all issued with fines on Tuesday relating to a gathering in the Cabinet Room on 19 June 2020 to mark Mr Johnson’s 56th birthday.
Multiple newspapers have carried reports suggesting the Prime Minister could receive further fixed penalty notices.
Downing Street sources said they were awaiting the outcome of the ongoing Scotland Yard inquiry after Mr Johnson conceded more fines could follow, having reportedly attended six of the 12 events under investigation.
Mr Hart told Times Radio: “I don’t necessarily see the difference between one or two (fines), for example, the principle is the same.
“I personally don’t think that for people in public life – or any other walk of life, for that matter – that should necessarily be accompanied by another penalty, which is the removal of your job or similar.”
Mr Hart also denied that Mr Johnson had deliberately mislead people with his initial denials that he had attended any parties during lockdown.
He told Sky News: “I know it always makes everybody frustrated. There is a difference between misleading and deliberately misleading.
“We heard all of that with Tony Blair and the Iraq War, if you remember, weapons of mass destruction? And the suggestion was at the time that he had misled Parliament.
“That was the suggestion and the argument was all around whether it was deliberate or whether it was accidental.”
When pressed on the fact the Prime Minister is overseeing 50 breaches of the law being broken, Mr Hart said: “I don’t know where you got 50 from.”
Sky News presenter Kay Burley explained: “Because 50 notices have already been issued. So, 50 times somebody has broken the law in Downing Street.”
Mr Hart replied: “You know more about this than me”, adding: “We can’t speculate about an inquiry which is incomplete.”
Mr Hart had also said earlier he did not want to see a “long, noisy leadership” process “at a critical time as far as our engagement in Ukraine is concerned”.
“For me it doesn’t seem to be in the public interest.”
“The PM bitterly regretted this. Nobody is more frustrated than he for the mistakes which were made nearly two years ago.”
More than 50 fines have been referred to the Acro Criminal Records Office since the Met’s inquiry started.
Speaking to broadcasters at his country residence, Chequers, on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said it “did not occur” to him at the time that the party for which he was fined might be breaching Covid rules.
Mr Sunak offered an “unreserved apology”, saying he understood that “for figures in public office, the rules must be applied stringently in order to maintain public confidence”.
A spokesperson for Mrs Johnson said: “Whilst she believed that she was acting in accordance with the rules at the time, Mrs Johnson accepts the Metropolitan Police’s findings and apologises unreservedly.”
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Hart, has already shown us, live on a radio interview, that he lacks the basic understanding of how government works, so , does he really know and understand what is happening here. This fool is best left ignored.
The Tories are lining up to declare themselves as morally vacuous individuals who should be removed from public life before they destroy us all. Their idea of self-preservation is to lay waste to anything that might show them in their true colours.
Lower than vermin.
We can also add to the fact that Hart dos not give a toss, by his words on Sky TV, where he is defending sending asylum seekers from the UK, to Rwanda, when human rights abuses were mentioned in Rwanda, he still defended the move to send people there. He is morally bankrupt
I can see why the Tories would want to keep Johnson as PM. He’s doing such a stand up job of keeping the UK together, of improving its standing in Europe and further abroad. What with the Tories so high in the polls, they must be thanking their lucky stars they took a chance on the King Chancer himself … I’m sure the electorate are enormously grateful for the tremendous improvement in economic prospects our generous overlords have granted us plebians. As for Simon Hart, he must surely be the best Welsh Secretary Wales has had since John Redwood. We… Read more »
Actually I think John Redwood took his job rather more seriously than Fart.
Listening to a Simon Hart interview is akin to reading a very bad stream of consciousness novel. Words tumble out of his mouth with little or no meaning.
Hart brown-nosing the serial-lying crim and cheat? Excuse me while while wretch.
Hart brown-nosing the serial-lying crim and cheat? Excuse me while I wretch.
With John Redwood among a number of predecessors to Simon Hart, it’s a tough call to name the worst Tory imposed Secretary of State for (keeping) Wales (down). Hart effectively says no matter how many fixed penalty notices Johnson gets, it’s not in the public interest to get rid of him as well as previously trotting out the lame ‘not the time’ line and ‘no appetite’ for devolving the crown estates. That’s right Simon. Wales doesn’t want its’ right to the money it should have and is quite happy to watch it disappear on the one way only eastbound highway… Read more »
Is it not?
Paradox for goodness sake. I must proof read before sending.
Come on Simon, you’re not guzzling hard enough.
RT Davies will push you aside soon.
Both of you, on your knees, NOW!
Six of the best? Merci!
Absolutely sickening from Hart – do these ‘people’ know no shame?
A case of the unspeakable coming out in support of the unbearable!!
It looks to me like Simon Hart should spent a little less time in the commons bar
This man is just a Johnson stooge and competely wrong. The public are concerned about this, they were forced to stay inside and many couldn’t even attend the funerals of loved ones, while No10 was partying. Why do these people care so little for anybody.
What happened to ‘Lying to Parliament is an automatic resignation matter? The PM lied throughout, until the evidence against him was overwhelming! He has the moral compass of a rattlesnake!
The whole idea that we can’t get rid of Johnson because of the war in the Ukraine is nothing short of drivel: World War 1 1916: Herbert Asquith replaced by David Lloyd George World War 2 1940: Neville Chamberlain replaced by Winston Churchill World War 2 (again) 1945: Winston Churchill replaced be Clement Attlee (Churchill called a general election after the defeat of Germany but before the defeat of Japan and assumed that he would win but didn’t) Korean War 1951: Clement Attlee replaced by Winston Churchill (again by a general election) Gulf War 1990: Margaret Thatcher replaced by John… Read more »