Boris Johnson 'trying to undermine democracy' to get away with Partygate scandal

The Prime Minister is trying to “undermine democracy” in refusing to resign over the Partygate scandal, Scottish Labour’s shadow Scotland secretary has said.

Ian Murray, speaking on the BBC’s The Sunday Show, said Boris Johnson was attempting to “tar everyone with the same brush” in order to “get away with his own failings”.

The comments come as the Tory Party chairman, Oliver Dowden, said it is “quite a speculation” to suggest the Prime Minister will receive further fines as part of the ongoing police investigation into parties held in Number 10.

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Downing Street is said to be braced for Boris Johnson to receive a second fixed-penalty notice (FPN) after police reportedly began issuing fines on Friday relating to a “bring your own bottle” drinks do in the No 10 garden on May 20 2020.

Reports suggested fines were being issued on Friday evening, but Number 10 said at that time no further fines had been issued to the Prime Minister.

Mr Murray attacked Boris Johnson as being someone who has lacked integrity throughout his career, whether in politics or elsewhere.

He said: “We’re going through probably the biggest cost-of-living crisis in the history of this country, where many are discovering whether they can pay their bills, whether or not they can make a decision about heating or eating, and we seem to be consumed by a Prime Minister who’s completely unfit for office.

“He’s not just been doing this as Prime Minister. Every career he’s had, he’s either been fired from or asked to leave because his integrity has been under question.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak are both under pressure due to PartygatePrime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak are both under pressure due to Partygate
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak are both under pressure due to Partygate

“I just don’t think you should have that at any position in parliament, let alone prime minister.”

Mr Murray said implementing a written constitution could provide more mechanisms to hold the Prime Minister to account rather than him being “judge and jury on himself”.

“At this moment in time, our entire democracy is being undermined by a Prime Minister who is dishonest,” he said.

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“When you look at that in the round, what the Prime Minister’s trying to do is to tar everyone with the same brush and undermine democracy in order to get away with his own failings. That’s completely unacceptable.”

Asked to comment on why the Labour Party was not further ahead in the polls despite the numerous scandals involving the UK Government, Mr Murray said polling was “fluctuating quite a lot”.

He added: “We need to persuade the electorate that we’re a government-in-waiting.

"Polls are polls. We have a long way back from the 2019 election, let’s not forget this government has an 80-seat majority.

“We’re making progress in terms of setting the agenda on how we deal with the cost-of-living crisis – we have a plan for that which the Government don’t.

“We have a plan for how we would like to take the economy forward, whereas the Government don’t. We have a plan for the green agenda, which the Government don’t.”

However, Mr Dowden appeared to argue it was not a sure bet that the Conservative Party leader would be slapped with a second £50 punishment for breaking his own coronavirus laws.

The Cabinet minister, asked on the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme about the prospect of additional fines for Mr Johnson, said: “I think in relation to these fines, we just have to let the police investigation happen.

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“I think it is quite a speculation to assume there will be more fines issued.”

The former culture secretary argued that changing the leader of the country during the current cost-of-living crisis and with a war raging in Ukraine would create “instability and uncertainty”.

Ian Blackford, the SNP leader in Westminster, also defended Nicola Sturgeon’s own rule-breaking on the programme after she was filmed not wearing a mask in a barbershop.

He said that he did not think “anybody would equate” that “momentary lapse” with a Prime Minister who has “repeatedly lied” to Parliament.

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