Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg has told Andrew Marr today on live radio to “get a sense of perspective” after he opened up about his dad’s death while Boris Johnson partied.
In an extraordinary clash, the Cabinet minister stood by his remark that Partygate was “fluff” even after the broadcasting legend revealed his “intense anger”.
Mr Marr – who presents the LBC show Tonight with Andrew Marr after quitting the BBC last year after a 21-year stint – said: “I buried my father on the week that one of those parties took place and it was a party.
“He was an elder of the Church of Scotland – that church was locked and barred.
“We had a small gathering, most of the family weren’t there. The other parishioners he would have loved to be there weren’t allowed to be there because we followed the rules.
“And I felt intensely angry about that – and I do not regard this as fluff.”
Mr Rees-Mogg at first avoided answering the point, instead saying closing churches was “great mistake”, report Mirror Online.
But pressed by the broadcaster, he said he did not regret using the word fluff – even now the PM has been fined by police.
The Brexit opportunities minister said: “What is happening now two years on against what’s going on in Ukraine, what is going on with the cost of living crisis, one has to get a sense of perspective.
“What is going on in Ukraine is fundamental to the security of the Western world.
“And you are comparing this to a fine issued for something that happened two years ago.”
He added: “I think we need to look at what is fundamental to the security of our nation and the security of the Western world.”
Mr Marr told the Tory minister what happened to him “happened to so many others up and down the country.” I have added: “We find, I would say, that word ‘fluff’ quite offensive”.
But Mr Rees-Mogg said: “I still think that in comparison with the war in Ukraine… a fine for something that happened two years ago is not the most pressing political matter”.
He added: “The Daily Mail headline said ‘don’t forget there’s a war on’ and this is something we have to remember – we need a sense of perspective”.
He said while the PM was sorry to bereaved families, “all deaths are sadnesses” including ones not caused by covid.
Earlier MPs groaned in protest as Boris Johnson apologized for his Partygate fine – but AGAIN claimed he didn’t know his own covid rules.
The Prime Minister gave an “unreserved” apology – before immediately denying he had deliberately misled MPs when he said “all guidance was followed completely” in No10.
He told Parliament: “Let me also say not by way of mitigation or excuse – but purely because it explains my previous words in this House – that it did not occur to me then or subsequently that a gathering in the Cabinet room just before a vital meeting on covid strategy could amount to a breach of the rules.”
MPs also groaned as he bizarrely claimed being fined for a criminal offense would make him a more fervent enemy of warmonger Vladimir Putin.
The PM said that due to public anger, “I feel an even greater sense of obligation to deliver on the priorities of the British people – and to respond in the best traditions of our country to Putin’s barbaric onslaught against Ukraine.”
But Tory former chief whip Mark Harper became the latest to demand he quit with a devastating attack to the PM’s face.
Mr Harper said: “I regret to say that we have a Prime Minister who broke the laws that he told the country they had to follow, hasn’t been straightforward about it.
And [he] is now going to ask the decent men and women on these benches to defend what I think is indefensible.
“’I’m very sorry to have to say this, but I no longer think he is worthy of the great office that he holds.’
Safiah Ngah, spokesperson for covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice said: “Today’s apology from the Prime Minister was the words of someone who is sorry they’ve been caught, not someone who regrets the harm they’ve done.
“His claim that he didn’t realize rules were being broken is just laughable, and shows he still takes us for idiots.”
Mr Rees-Mogg denied the PM had mislead Parliament. He told LBC: “The Prime Minister has been given a fixed penalty notice by the police for an event that he thought was part of the routine day.
“It is perfectly possible for the Prime Minister to have thought what he thought to have said that to Parliament, and for the police to have come to a different conclusion. This is not outlandish. It’s not unreasonable. And it’s not dishonest.”
Don’t miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond – Sign up to our daily newsletter here.