Desperate allies of the PM even claimed people caught speeding four times haven’t ‘really endangered life’ – despite the fact they get banned from driving. And as ex-England player Gary Neville pointed out, that is what’s happened to him
‘Gaslighting’ allies of Boris Johnson have defended his police fine by pointing out not all crimes are as serious as each other, and murder isn’t the same as manslaughter.
One ally even claimed someone hadn’t “really endangered life” if they were caught four times just over the speed limit – as the PM braces for three more Partygate penalties.
The suggestion to the i newspaper was ridiculed by Gary Neville, who pointed out people fined for speeding four times in a certain period are banned from driving.
The ex-England player said that was what happened to him, tweeting: “I can relate to this. He was recently caught speeding around 35-40.
“For the first time in 30 years I’m now over 12 points. So I am banned. Because that is the law. And when you break the law it means no excuses, no gaslighting, no lies! Speed kills and I’m so sorry!”
The Prime Minister is bracing for a tough statement to Parliament on Tuesday, where he will apologize for becoming the first PM to commit a criminal offense – but not resign.
Opposition parties are said to have handed letters to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, calling for a vote on whether to refer the PM to the Commons privileges committee, which would investigate if he had misled MPs over Partygate.
If he was found to have broken the rules, Mr Johnson could be suspended from Parliament for a contempt of privilege.
Sources told the Sunday Times the statement would be “very restrained” but point to the war in Ukraine as one reason he should stay.
He admitted spending nine minutes at a birthday party in his honor in June 2020, while indoor social gatherings were banned, pubs were still shut and there was no vaccine.
The PM was also at up to five other parties being investigated by police, leading to fears he will receive multiple fines over the coming weeks.
And today the Sunday Times reported he was not only present at a lockdown leaving do for his former spin doctor – but led the celebrations.
The event in November 2020 began with the press office having drinks to round off the week, but turned into a party once Mr Johnson arrived, poured drinks for himself and attendees, and made a speech, it is said.
Three months earlier the government had introduced special £10,000 fines for people who organized unlawful gatherings of over 30 people.
Deputy Labor leader Angela Rayner said: “While the British public was making huge sacrifices, Boris Johnson was breaking the law.
“If the latest reports are true, it would mean that not only did the Prime Minister attend parties, but he had a hand in instigating at least one of them.
“He has deliberately misled the British people at every turn. The Prime Minister has demeaned his office from him. The British people deserve better.”
Yet one ally told the i’s Paul Waugh: “If you’re caught speeding at 35mph four times, that doesn’t mean that you were speeding at 140mph.
“It doesn’t mean that you really endangered life because the cumulative effect of all your speeding in 30mph zones amounts to 140pmh, does it?”
Another told the Sunday Times: “While there are people who say that breaking the law is a black and white thing, most of us live in a world where we have had parking tickets or speeding ends.
“Ministers on both sides of the House have had fixed penalty notices for all kinds of things over the decades.
“There is a difference between murder and manslaughter and there is a hell of a difference between a £50 fixed penalty notice and what we are generally outraged by being a breach of the law.”
Later this week he will try to move on from the row with a delayed trip to India to discuss defense and trade.
He will travel to Ahmedabad followed by New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Modi for talks on a defence, diplomatic and economic partnership.
No10 said he would announce “major investment” in key industries in Gujarat and “drive progress” in trying to get a post-Brexit trade deal with India.
It comes amid claims that Whitehall enforcer Sue Gray has been told by the Met she cannot publish her report on lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street until all the ends have been handed out.
However, No10 has previously made clear it does not expect her to publish until the police probe is complete anyway.