Jacob Rees-Mogg shuts down Wishart in Commons response
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SNP Commons leader Pete Wishart urged Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg to have a debate “about the Prime Minister just simply going”, as the country is “led by someone who the public simply cannot trust”. He said: “This (Boris Johnson) is someone who no longer has the authority to see down the maskless, right-wing libertarians in his own party and dangerous do-nothing, let Covid flourish nonsense.” Mr Wishart also agreed with shadow Commons Leader Thangam Debbonaire that “it wasn’t just Allegra Stratton who made light of the party that never was”, but also Mr Rees-Mogg, who was filmed joking about “imperial measures, his favourite subject”, at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
He added: “It is not just women that have to apologise and resign, apologise to this House for these insensitive remarks you made the other day.”
The Commons Leader replied: “He said there should be a debate on the Prime Minister: they had one, only just over a week ago, they lost.
“They don’t like losing, they keep on losing, they lost the referendum, they didn’t like that, either, they lose again, and again and again and they come back to the same old subject.
“He then criticised me for making a joke about imperial measures.
“Now, I know the honourable gentleman has no sense of humour, at least professionally, he may do in private. It’s part of his image that he should never… but to make a joke about imperial measures may not be very funny, it may not win me awards for humour, but it seems to be an eccentric thing to be concerned about.”
Boris Johnson “will not have lied about any parties” in No 10, the chief whip insisted after it emerged the Prime Minister’s press chief addressed staff at one event last Christmas.
Mark Spencer insisted Downing Street staff “were not drinking alcohol” and partying during Covid restrictions as he claimed the Prime Minister can not know everything going on in Downing Street with its “hundreds of offices and rooms”.
The chief whip’s defence came after it was revealed Jack Doyle, who as No 10’s director of communications helped lead the denials in the scandal, gave out awards at one gathering.
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ITV News, which first reported Mr Doyle’s presence at one event, said he addressed up to 50 people and made a speech at the party on December 18.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said it showed an investigation being carried out by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case and ordered by the Prime Minister is a “sham”.
Mr Spencer said he was “assured that everybody in that building played by the rules” as he sought to explain how Mr Johnson may not know what was going on under his own roof.
“When you describe it as a house, it’s a department of Government, this is a huge, huge building, literally with hundreds and hundreds of offices and rooms,” the Sherwood MP told BBC Radio Nottinghamshire.
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“No single person could account for what’s happening in those buildings – they are huge buildings.”
Told people are furious after suffering a miserable Christmas under Covid restrictions, Mr Spencer replied: “And so did the Prime Minister, believe me, he also had a miserable Christmas dealing with all of this and dealing with the coronavirus epidemic as many people did in No 10 working day and night trying to solve the challenges the country was facing.
“I’m told they were not drinking alcohol and having parties while that was going on.”
Asked if Mr Johnson should resign if he lied, the whip said: “The Prime Minister will not have lied about any parties. My understanding is that there was no party but we need to investigate that, the Cabinet Secretary will investigate it and we will establish the facts.”
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