UK PM Johnson Says He Will Not Resign Over Alleged Lockdown-Breaching Parties

© REUTERS / UK PARLIAMENT/JESSICA TAYLORBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the weekly question time debate at Parliament in London, Britain, January 19, 2022. UK Parliament /Jessica Taylor
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the weekly question time debate at Parliament in London, Britain, January 19, 2022. UK Parliament /Jessica Taylor - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.01.2022
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been facing growing calls to step down over reports of a birthday party that was held for him at No 10 during the first COVID-related lockdown in June 2020, as well as leaked information that he attended a gathering in the garden at Downing Street on 20 May.
Boris Johnson had stated at PMQs in the Commons that he would not resign in the wake of the so-called "partygate" row - a series of alleged lockdown-breaking parties at his Downing Street office and residence. However, he agreed that those who break the ministerial code of conduct should step down.
The UK Prime Minister was responding to a question from the Labour Party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, who accused him of changing his story over the reported gatherings in 2020 and 2021.
Starmer had questioned whether the PM believed that the part of the ministerial code saying ministers who knowingly mislead parliament must resign applied to him.
Asked directly whether he would quit, Boris Johnson replied, "No."
Johnson also suggested that the opposition leader was trying to get him to comment on something in advance he cannot comment on yet, in a nod to the ongoing police investigation into the scandal.
Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, echoed Starmer’s words in the Commons, asking Johnson when he would step down, underscoring that the PM was being investigated by the police for breaking his own laws.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson samples an Isle of Harris Gin as he visits a UK Food and Drinks market set up in Downing Street, central London on November 30, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.01.2022
'PartyGate' Probe 'Has Pics of BoJo Next to Wine Bottles' at Lockdown-Breaching Bashes
Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Police said they would investigate reports of lockdown parties held at Johnson's office.
"I can confirm that the Met is now investigating a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of COVID-19 regulations," Cressida Dick, the head of the Metropolitan Police, told a Greater London Assembly meeting on Tuesday.
Referencing the much-anticipated report by senior civil servant Sue Gray, Starmer asked Johnson whether No 10 would do as promised and publish the findings in full.
The Prime Minister responded by saying he would do “exactly what he said”.
Earlier this month Johnson issued an apology in the House of Commons for attending one of the No10 events being probed – a garden gathering on 20 May 2020, claiming he thought it was a "work event" at the time. He also urged people to wait for Sue Gray to publish her findings, promising he would then make a statement and answer questions in the House of Commons.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick speaks during a service ahead of the start of the Police Unity Tour in central London - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.01.2022
UK Police to Probe Lockdown Parties at Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Office
Gray is believed to have been interviewing witnesses while also studying evidence such as security logs showing who was in Downing Street and when.
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