Boris Johnson apology: Replacements ‘are worse’ says pundit
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Boris Johnson faced calls to quit from senior Tories after he apologised for attending a “bring your own booze” gathering in the garden of No 10 during England’s first lockdown. The Prime Minister insisted he believed it had been a “work event” and Downing Street said he had never been sent an email encouraging staff to bring a bottle and “make the most of the lovely weather”. But Benjamin Loughnane from The Bow Group explained Mr Johnson’s replacements “are only worse”.
Speaking to GB News, Mr Loughnane said: “As exhilarating as the scent of blood is and as much as I want to see Boris punished for being so hypocritical and bringing in such horrid rules while he was breaking them.
“I think we need to step back a bit and get some perspective.
“At the moment, Boris is in a situation where he knows he has lost the moral authority to reduce new restrictions and lockdowns and that’s quite good for us because we can keep the stability we currently have.
“It’s good for the economy but also, with regards on who could replace him, there are only worse options.
“Everyone who is likely to replace Boris Johnson is worse.”
But in a sign of mounting Tory anger, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross called for him to quit while another MP branded the Prime Minister a “dead man walking”.
In the Commons, Mr Johnson said that he attended the May 20 2020 gathering for around 25 minutes to “thank groups of staff” but “with hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside”.
The Prime Minister acknowledged public anger, saying: “I know the rage they feel with me and with the Government I lead when they think in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.”
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He said an inquiry was examining the situation but accepted “there were things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility”.
Downing Street refused to say whether his then fiancee Carrie Symonds had attended the gathering, if Mr Johnson had noticed tables laden with food and drink or if he had brought a bottle of his own into the garden.
All such questions were a matter for senior official Sue Gray’s inquiry, the Prime Minister’s press secretary told reporters.
But she insisted Mr Johnson had not been sent the invitation email from his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds encouraging colleagues to “bring your own booze” to the garden.
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At just after 6pm on the day of the event, the time the invitation had specified for people to gather to “make the most of the lovely weather”, Mr Johnson went into the garden to thank staff for their efforts and stayed for 25 minutes.
“I believed implicitly that this was a work event,” he said.
“With hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside.
“I should have found some other way to thank them.
“I should have recognised that even if it could be said technically to fall within the guidance, there are millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way, people who have suffered terribly, people who were forbidden for meeting loved ones at all inside or outside, and to them and to this House I offer my heartfelt apologies.”
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