April 13, 2022 7.00 pm This story is over 25 months old

Prime Minister has Lincoln MP’s “full support” after partygate fines

PM apologised, but said he won’t resign

By Local Democracy Reporter

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson is coming under increasing pressure after he was fined for a party at Downing Street during the height of COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 — but the Conservative MP for Lincoln is still supporting him.

The Prime Minister gave a statement on Tuesday, April 12 in response to being fined by the Metropolitan Police for his role in a lockdown-breaching party at Downing Street on June 19, 2020.

He said that he “immediately” paid the fine whilst offering a full apology to the British public, before again reiterating that it “did not occur” to him that he was breaching any lockdown rules.

The Prime Minister had to apologise for attending a garden party at 10 Downing Street at the height of lockdown. | Photo via Guardian

The PM explained: “My day began shortly after 7am, and I chaired eight meetings in No10, including the Cabinet Committee deciding Covid strategy, I visited a school in Hemel Hempstead, which took me out of Downing Street for over four hours.

“And amongst all these engagements, on a day that happened to be my birthday, there was a brief gathering in the Cabinet Room shortly after 2pm, lasting for less than 10 minutes, during which people I work with kindly passed on their good wishes.

“And I have to say in all frankness, at the time, it did not occur to me that this might have been a breach of the rules.

“But of course the police have found otherwise and I fully respect the outcome of their investigation.”

Prime Minister Johnson was joined by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in being given a fixed penalty notice by the Metropolitan Police for Downing Street lockdown bashes, and the calls for both to resign are now louder than ever.

However, Lincoln’s Conservative MP Karl McCartney has again voiced his backing for Boris Johnson, posting on Twitter on Wednesday that the Prime Minister “continues to have my full support”.

Lincoln’s Member of Parliament, Karl McCartney. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Mr McCartney then posted a full statement in which he reserved criticism for the opposition, namely Labour leader Keir Starmer, while saying he is disappointed with those who “actually arranged the event”.

He said: “I fully understand how angry some of my Constituents will be with respect to the sacrifices they made and the rules they had to fully comply with (many of which I broadly opposed), whilst those who made them, on occasion, did not. It is right therefore that the apologies have been made.

“I also feel it is important to read the Prime Minister’s Official Statement in full first before listening to the Leader of the Labour Party, who not only cannot bring himself to say what a woman is, he also wanted Covid lockdowns to last longer and be more wide-ranging.

“I am very disappointed by those who actually arranged the event that led to this issue arising and it is clear that both the Prime Minister and Chancellor were not involved in that. Those who arranged this event have very serious questions to answer, and they should seriously consider their positions if they are still in them.”

The Lincoln MP continues by mentioning the importance of stability within government during the Russia and Ukraine crisis.

“Furthermore, we are in the middle of a terrible global crisis with respect to Ukraine. Our Prime Minister and our Country are leading the world in terms of our response and support.

“It is clear that it would only serve to boost and give comfort to Putin and his savage armed forces if there was any change in the leadership of our Country.

“The Leader of the Labour Party, not unsurprisingly, has no sense of the gravity of this situation and the consequences of the changes that he “calls” for, if they actually happened. He is, as ever, shameless in solely putting the Labour Party’s interests first above anything else regardless of what he himself got up to in Durham around the same time.”

It is not the first time that Mr McCartney has gone on record to display support for the Prime Minister, having been one of a number of Lincolnshire MPs to confirm they still back him following Sue Gray’s report into lockdown gatherings earlier this year.

He also accused the media of “flogging a dead horse” by calling for accountability after the report was released, in which it was revealed that at least sixteen events had taken place between May 2020 and April 2021.

Mr Johnson now says that he has an “even greater sense of obligation” to deliver for the public, stating that he aims to strengthen the economy, create jobs and opportunities, levelling up the whole United Kingdom and tackle the ongoing conflicts between Ukraine and Russia.