Matthew Taylor

Keir Starmer – I think Boris broke the law and lied about it

Keir Starmer – I think Boris broke the law and lied about it
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Keir Starmer – I think Boris broke the law and lied about it

To preside over one lockdown party might be seen as a misfortune. Two begins to look like carelessness. Imagine then, the Prime Minister’s incredulity if even half of the alleged Downing Street parties are indeed found to have taken place by the ‘Partygate’ investigator-in-chief, Sue Gray. The leader of the opposition Keir Starmer joined Sophie Raworth this morning to discuss what seems to be the only story in town. Having called for Boris Johnson to resign last week, Sir Keir Starmer did not relent in his bid to keep up the pressure on the PM, arguing that he had known full well about ‘industrial scale partying’ taking place:

KS: The facts speak for themselves. I think the Prime Minister broke the law. I think he then lied about what had happened.

‘No comparison’ between my conduct and the PM’s

Raworth bought up a picture of Starmer taken before last year’s local elections, in which he appeared to be in a similarly compromising position. He is shown in what is believed to be the constituency office of Mary Foy, the MP for the City of Durham. Starmer refuted the idea that there was no party like a local Labour party, and claimed that the image was out of context:

KS: We were working in the office and we stopped for something to eat… No party, no breach of the rules, and absolutely no comparison with the Prime Minister.

Oliver Dowden – Boris ‘should remain as Prime Minister’

The Conservative party chairman was faced with the unenviable task of defending the PM against the onslaught of anger that has been felt in the wake of the Partygate revelations. Oliver Dowden told Trevor Phillips that any parties that might have taken place were ‘totally wrong’, and that the culture within Downing Street would be addressed:

OD: Boris Johnson should, of course, remain as our Prime Minister… I think when it comes to those big calls, he’s made the right [ones].

‘We may be emerging from the worst’ of Omicron

Phillips also asked about whether the Plan B restrictions put in place before Christmas might soon be lifted, given the high take-up of the booster vaccine:

OD: We may be emerging from the worst of Omicron… I want us to get rid of those [measures] as soon as we possibly can. The signs are encouraging.

Iain Duncan Smith – Governments have been ‘asleep at the wheel’ over China

Parliament was rocked this week when MI5 took the extraordinary step of issuing an ‘interference alert’ notifying MPs about Christine Lee, a solicitor who is strongly suspected of advancing the cause of the Chinese Communist party. Lee had given several donations to the then shadow cabinet minister Barry Gardiner, which paid for her son to work in Gardiner’s office. The former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith warned of the need to be vigilant:

IDS: I think that successive governments have been completely asleep at the wheel over this issue… We are completely dependent on [China] for a whole series of items… It’s dangerous.

Kurt Volker – Threat of Ukraine invasion ‘is very real’

And finally, Kurt Volker, who until recently served as the United States’ Special Representative to Ukraine, had another stark warning over the threat faced from Vladimir Putin:

KV: I think it is very real and very dangerous, probably the most dangerous it has been since the last time Russia invaded in 2014… [Putin] is making all kinds of threats… [that] he’s going to do it again.