Catherine McKinnell MP has challenged Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his inability to be “clear or straight” on breaches of lockdown laws at the heart of Government.
Questioning the Prime Minister during a session of Parliament’s Liaison Committee, Catherine commented that “lack of trust in Government is raised regularly in Parliamentary petitions” and asked the Prime Minister “how would you respond to 130,000 plus petitioners who are calling for lying in the House of Commons to be made a criminal offence”.
The Prime Minister responded that “I think it is very important that you should be clear with the House of Commons and I’ve tried to be as clear as I can about my understanding of events”.
Catherine followed up her question stating: “The words that you have just used, ‘tried to be as clear as I can’, I think that is the big concern that people have, that you are not able to be clear or straight on these issues if you can’t even answer the question as to whether any laws were broken in Whitehall….Can you at least give a clear answer on that?”
Concluding her questioning, Catherine asked “can you appreciate Prime Minister that throwing a party for Tory MPs on the anniversary of the Covid memorial, on the day Fixed Penalty Notices were issued for lockdown breaking in Whitehall might give the impression that you don’t care about how they feel about this?”
The Prime Minister responded: “Look, I think that this Government has done everything that we can to protect the public throughout the pandemic. Yes, I care deeply, but we have worked incredibly hard across the whole of Government to look after the population during the pandemic. Some things went well some things went less well but overall, the record of the UK Government in dealing with Covid has been pretty remarkable and I am proud of it.”
Following her questioning, Catherine commented:
“The Prime Minister repeatedly reassured Parliament and the public that no breaches of the lockdown rules took place. Yet yesterday we heard the police will be issuing at least 20 fines for lawbreaking at the heart of Government.
“The Prime Minister is still not being straight with the public and continues to dodge questions. It’s an insult to everyone that did the right thing and sacrificed so much over the last two years. It’s so important that we have competent, responsible leadership, particularly at moments of international crisis, and something the Prime Minister is clearly unable to provide.”