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‘Brazen excuses’: John Major launches stinging attack on Boris Johnson over partygate



The former Prime Minister’s excoriating intervention comes a day after the Metropolitan Police announced it was writing to more than 50 people, possibly including Mr Johnson, to ask for their explanation as to why they attended 12 gatherings at Downing Street and in Whitehall while Covid-19 restrictions were in place.

Mr Johnson has admitted attending at least one of the events – a bring your own booze party in the Downing Street garden on May 20 2020 – but has insisted he believed it was a work event.

In a speech at the Institute for Government think-tank on Thursday morning, Sir John was due to say that ministers had been “evasive” during the affair and warned the Government’s “shifty” behaviour risked damaging public trust.

He was also set to hint that if Mr Johnson is found to have misled Parliament over the parties then he would have to resign.

He was due to say: “At No10, the Prime Minister and officials broke lockdown laws.

“Brazen excuses were dreamed up. Day after day the public was asked to believe the unbelievable.  Ministers were sent out to defend the indefensible – making themselves look gullible or foolish.

“Collectively, this has made the Government look distinctly shifty, which has consequences that go far beyond political unpopularity.

“No Government can function properly if its every word is treated with suspicion.”

Although Sir John doesn’t mention Mr Johnson by name, he adds that “deliberate lies to Parliament have been fatal to political careers – and must always be so”.

Sir John, who served as Prime Minister between 1990 and 1997, has long been a vocal critic of Mr Johnson accusing the Government of being “politically corrupt” following the Owen Paterson sleaze storm last November.

He has also clashed with Mr Johnson over Brexit, insisting the decision to leave the EU was a “colossal misjudgment”.



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