Well, that’s that then. This afternoon the Metropolitan Police fined the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of Exchequer for breaking lockdown laws. It follows an investigation into alleged Covid law-breaking at 12 gatherings in Whitehall and Downing Street. Both Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have maintained their innocence right up until this week. Below are six of the most memorable denials by the two men since claims emerged last year.
1 December 2021
At Prime Minister’s Questions, Johnson denies that Covid rules had been broken. He tells the House of Commons: ‘All guidance was followed completely in No. 10.’
3 December 2021
Asked whether rules had been broken Johnson told the BBC: ‘That’s not true. We followed the guidance throughout. We continue to follow the guidance… We followed the guidance at all times… We followed the guidance at all times… I’m sorry, but I’m just going to have to tell you: We followed the guidance at all times, and we will continue to follow the guidance at all times.’
7 December 2021
In Parliament, Sunak is asked if he, his officials, or special advisors, attended parties in Downing Street on 27 November or 18 December 2020. He tells the House of Commons ‘No, I did not attend any parties.’ He also references the ministerial code, which outlines that ministers who are found to have knowingly misled parliament will be ‘expected to offer their resignation.’
That same day while standing outside a prison, Johnson told Sky News: ‘What I can tell you is that all the guidelines were observed, continue to be observed… I can tell you that the guidelines were followed at all times… I have satisfied myself that the guidelines were followed at all times.’
8 December 2021
Johnson tells Parliament: ‘I repeat that I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken. That is what I have been repeatedly assured.’ An inquiry into the alleged parties by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case is announced.
13 December 2021
Johnson tells broadcasters ‘I certainly broke no rules’ after a photograph was published in the Sunday Mirror showing him with two colleagues at a virtual quiz in Downing Street in December 2020.
11 February 2021
Rishi Sunak is asked on Sky ‘Do you believe you may have broken the rules?’ He replies: ‘No.’
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) October 5, 2021
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