- Boris Johnson has mislead Parliament over partygate and should resign, a Conservative MP has said.
- Sir Roger Gale previously said it was the wrong time to change leader, citing the war in Ukraine.
- Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister, also responded to new pictures showing the PM at a party.
A senior Conservative MP has said he believes Boris Johnson misled Parliament after fresh pictures emerged of the Prime Minister at a party, branding it a “resignation issue”.
Sir Roger Gale was one of the first Tories to call for Johnson to quit: he submitted a letter of no confidence during the row over Dominic Cummings’ controversial trip to Barnard Castle.
However the North Thanet MP withdrew the letter at the outset of the war in Ukraine, saying it was not the right time to change leaders.
However, the new photos changed his mind again.
He tweeted: “I believe that the PM has misled the HoC’s from the despatch box. That is a resignation issue.
“I have made my own position clear. It is now a matter for my Conservative parliamentary colleagues to decide whether or not to instigate a vote of no confidence.”
Gale was not the only senior Conservative backbencher to respond to the latest partygate story.
Steve Baker, an ardent Brexiter who recently told Johnson “the gig is up”, tweeted a government-produced poster designed to encourage people to follow COVID-19 regulations.
Although he did not caption it, he later followed it up with a post saying: “Amazing the interest which can be aroused by tweeting a government poster.
—Steve Baker MP FRSA 🗽 (@SteveBakerHW) May 23, 2022
Both men were reacting to leaked pictures, published Monday by ITV News, showing Johnson apparently toasting colleagues at a leaving party on 13th November 2020, with bottles of alcohol and party food on the table in front of him.
The series of photographs also showed a ministerial red box on a chair by the table holding two bottles of champagne or cava, four bottles of wine and half a bottle of gin.
They were taken at a gathering in honour of the Downing Street’s then Director of Communications Lee Cain, with eight people pictured standing closely together, as well as the photographer, ITV News reports.
The rules at the time allowed a maximum of two people from different households to mix indoors.
Johnson has received a single fine from the police following their investigation into multiple lockdown-breaking incidents. A total of 126 were handed out.
A full report into the lockdown-breaking at the top of government by Sue Gray, a senior civil servant, is expected to be published imminently. MPs believe this could be more damaging for the prime minister than the police fine.
On top of that, Parliament’s Privileges Committee is due to begin an investigation into whether he knowingly misled MPs by denying any knowledge of the parties. That would be a breach of the ministerial code – usually a resigning matter.
On Tuesday morning Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News: “The question is, was he down there partying? No, clearly not — he’d gone by to say thanks and raise a glass to a colleague who was leaving.”
“The police have spent a lot of time with a lot of people and a lot of resources crawling over it and they’ve come to their conclusion – as we know he wasn’t fined for that event.”
Asked about Johnson’s prior claims that no rules were broken, Shapps added: “It looks to me like he goes down on his way out of the office and thanks the staff and raises a glass and doesn’t in his mind recognise that as a party.”