Boris Johnson refuses to say if he will resign if found guilty of 'partygate' breaches

Metropolitan Police investigating UK Prime Minister and government members for allegedly attending social events during lockdown restrictions

Boris Johnson (L) in Munich on Sunday, where he would not answer questions on whether he would resign if found guilty of breaching lockdown rules. AP
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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly declined to say whether he will resign if he is found to have broken Covid lockdown rules when asked by a reporter at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme, Mr Johnson said there was "not a jot" to say about the allegations until the police inquiry was completed.

However, the prime minister said he hoped the public “won’t have long” to wait for the investigations to conclude. “I will be saying a lot more about it in due course,” he said.

“Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to give you full and detailed answers on all this stuff. I genuinely can’t because we’ve got a process under way – there is not a jot I can say until it is done,” he said.

Mr Johnson has given police a legal questionnaire regarding claims that parties were held in Downing Street that breached lockdown rules in place at the time.

The Metropolitan Police is investigating 12 events allegedly attended by government figures during lockdowns, including as many as six that the prime minister reportedly attended.

Officers involved in Operation Hillman, which is examining whether coronavirus restrictions were broken in Downing Street and across Whitehall, sent formal questionnaires to about 50 people as part of the probe into alleged Covid rule-breaking.

The content of Mr Johnson’s questionnaire response has not been made public.

During his interview with the BBC in Munich, Mr Johnson was told that the public found some of his excuses for attending Downing Street gatherings “implausible”, to which he replied: “You’re just going to have to wait until the process is complete – there is literally not a bean I can tell you about that, as much as I would like to.”

Addressing the mounting criticism from within his own party over the alleged breaches and calls for his resignation, Mr Johnson said that he was lucky to live in a democracy where people can make their own decisions.

“I am fortunate to be the PM of a free, independent, democratic country where people can take that sort of decision and where I do face that sort of pressure, that’s a wonderful thing,” he said.

Asked by Sky on Sunday whether Mr Johnson should resign if issued with a fixed penalty notice by police over the parties, Europe Minister James Cleverly said the country did not need “a vacuum at the centre of government” while it was dealing with Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said called for Mr Johnson resignation if he was found to have broken the law.

“If he won’t resign, Conservative MPs must do the right thing and sack him," he said. "For a sitting prime minister to be found guilty of breaking the law would be unprecedented and put to bed once and for all the Conservative Party’s claim to be the party of law and order."

Updated: February 20, 2022, 1:07 PM
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