Here’s how long it took ministers to support Boris Johnson after Partygate fine – and for Sunak to say sorry



When the news broke shortly before 1:45pm on Tuesday that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak had received Partygate late from the police, many were waiting for their response – including cabinet ministers.

Some four hours later, at around 6:05pm, Boris Johnson released a video in which he offered a “full apology” for breaking Covid laws at his own birthday party in Downing Street.

He told the public that it “did not occur to me” at the time that he had broken the rules.

However even before the prime minister had responded to the Met’s decision, culture secretary Nadine Dorries had offered him her support publicly.

In a tweet made at 5:20pm, she said that Mr Johnson had “been clear about what happened on 19th June 2020 and offered a full apology.”

She continued: “It was brief gathering in the Cabinet Room, less than 10 minutes during a busy working day. PM is at his best when delivering on the priorities of the British people which he will continue to do.”

She was however the only cabinet minister to respond to the news publicly before the prime minister had given his own statement.

After Mr Johnson’s apology video was released, ministers started coming to his aid – starting first with chief secretary to the treasury Simon Clarke.

Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson had both paid their Met Police fines

(PA)

He backed both the prime minister and the chancellor in his 6:27pm tweet, which read: “The PM and chancellor have my full support. Their efforts during the pandemic have ensured the UK is now free of restrictions and avoided economic catastrophe.

“I for one am grateful to them for everything they have done for our country.”

In the first hour after the statement, Alister Jack, Nigel Adams, Liz Truss and Therese Coffey all issued statements of continued support.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss wrote at 6:53pm: “The prime minister had apologized and taken responsibility for what happened in Downing Street.

“He and the chancellor are delivering for Britain on many fronts including on the international security crisis we face. They have my 100 percent backing.”

The next hour, from 7pm to 8pm, saw nine more ministers declare their support.

These included Michael Gove, Steve Barclay, Kwasi Kwarteng, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps, Alok Sharma, Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Oliver Dowden.

Health secretary Sajid Javid acknowledged that “it was right for the police to take breaches in No10 seriously and for the PM to apologise”.

‘I respect the decision that has been made and have paid the fine,’ Mr Sunak said

(PA)

“Restrictions on freedoms must always be a last resort and shared equally,” he said.

Only at around 8:10pm, after many ministers had already spoken publicly and some six hours after the news broke, did Rishi Sunak respond.

Mr Sunak issued a statement in which he offered “an unreserved apology”. He added: “I understand that for figures in public office, the rules must be applied stringently in order to maintain public confidence.

“I respect the decision that has been made and have paid the fine.

“I deeply regret the frustration and anger caused and I am sorry.”

Following his comments, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mark Spencer, Ben Wallace, Nadhim Zahari, Simon Hart, Michael Ellis and George Eustice chimed in.

Home secretary Priti Patel, policing minister Kit Malthouse, and attorney general Suella Braverman have all not responded publicly – perhaps because of the nature of their roles.

Read the full list of the ministers who have responded, and at what time, put together by SkyNews here:


www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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