Tory MP claims Boris Johnson’s position is untenable as minister defends ‘human’ mistake

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) and the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak were fined on Tuesday.

Nigel Mills is the first Conservative politician to speak out against Mr Johnson after he attended a birthday party then claimed he didn’t understand the rules.

The MP for Amber Valley was speaking the day after the Prime Minister and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak were hit with criminal sanctions for attending a gathering in the Cabinet Room in June 2020.

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Asked if he thought Mr Johnson’s position was untenable, Mr Mills said: “Yeah, I think for a Prime Minister in office to be given a fine and accept it and pay it for breaking the laws that he introduced… is just an impossible position.

“We have every right to expect higher standards of people making these laws… so the idea that he can survive having broken one and accepted he has broken (it), I just think is impossible.”

On whether Parliament should be recalled to enable a change of leadership as soon as possible, Mr Mills conceded “it would be almost impossible to recall Parliament before Tuesday when we’re back anyway”.

He added: “There’s almost zero chance that a motion of confidence in the House of Commons would be lost.

“So, we can all send our letters to Sir Graham Brady… to be honest though, I’d be very surprised if he either resigns or there’s 180 of us that want rid of him. So I think he will carry on for now.”

told the PA news agency “we have every right to expect higher standards of people making these laws.”

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Both Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak apologized on Tuesday and confirmed they had paid the fines imposed by the Metropolitan Police.

But they resisted calls for their resignations – insisting they were keen to now get on with the job.

The timing of the announcement has somewhat spared Mr Johnson’s blushes, with MPs unable to grill him in the Commons due to the parliamentary recess.

Wednesday also saw the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps defended the Prime Minister, saying he is “human” and did not knowingly break the law.

Asked on Sky News how Mr Johnson can “possibly remain in office”, Mr Shapps said: “Everyone is human, people sometimes make mistakes.”

On whether Mr Johnson misled Parliament, Mr Shapps told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme: “I don’t think he knowingly broke the laws when he came to Parliament. We now know that the Metropolitan Police have said that he shouldn’t have stepped into the Cabinet Room when staff had organized a surprise.

“I don’t think he came to Parliament thinking that that breached the rules.”

Meanwhile, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP have continued to back calls for the Commons to be recalled from its two-week Easter break to allow the Prime Minister to “tender his resignation” in person to MPs.

More than 50 fines have been referred to the Acro Criminal Records Office since the inquiry started.

Mr Johnson did not rule out the prospect he could be fined again for further events.

He is reported to have attended six of the 12 under investigation.

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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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