Politics

PM tells Commons: ‘I get it and I will fix it’

BORIS Johnson has made it clear he will not be resigning over the partygate scandal, telling MPs: “I get it and I will fix it.”

Facing the Commons after Sue Gray’s initial report into lockdown parties in and around Number 10 was published, the Prime Minister also said he was sorry for mistakes.  

The report found serious failures of leadership and judgment, an unprofessional drinking culture and staff afraid to speak out about bad behaviour in Downing Street.

However Ms Gray said she had been unable to produce a truly “meaningful report” because of an ongoing Metropolitan Police investigation into 12 potentially criminal events.

Mr Johnson said he would shake-up the operation at Number 10, including creating an Office of the Prime Minister with its own permanent secretary.

There would also be a review of the codes of conduct governing civil servants and special advisers.

He said: “I want to say to the people of this country, I know what the issue is: it’s whether this government can be trusted to deliver and I say yes we can be trusted.”

He then cited Brexit, freeports, the vaccine rollout and other political staples. 

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called Mr Johnson “a man with out shame” who was hiding behind the Metropolitan Police probe and was incapable of reform.

He urged Tory MPs to spare the country a Prime Minister who was unsuitable for high office by removing him from his post.

“The eyes of the country are upon them. They will be judged by the actions they take now.”

Mr Johnson called the remarks a “tissue of nonsense” and accused Sir Keir for failing to prosecute the paedophile Jimmy Saville while he was director of public prosecutions.

The PM also brushed aside his predecessor Theresa May asking whether he and his staff had misunderstood or ignored the Covid rules they had imposed on the country.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said trust had been decimated by the PM.

“He has wilfully, wilfully misled parliament,” he said, prompting Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to ask him to withdraw the unparliamentary language.

Mr Blackford also said the SNP would table a vote in a bid to compel publication of Ms Gray’s full report.

“If there is any honour in public life, he would resign,” he said.

Mr Johnson said he was wrong.

Former Tory cabinet secretary Andrew Mitchell said he had been a “full throated” supporter of Mr Johnson for decades but he “no longer enjoys my support”.

 

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