PM refuses to apologise for Tory sleaze, admits he 'could've handled it better'

14 November 2021, 18:22 | Updated: 16 November 2021, 22:21

By Seán Hickey

Boris Johnson was grilled by journalists over the Tory sleaze scandal at a Downing Street press conference on Sunday.

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"Things certainly could have been handled better, let me put it that way – by me" the Prime Minister said when pushed by by The Daily Mail's Political Editor Jason Groves.

The comments came as pressure grows on the Prime Minister to apologise for the way the Conservatives handled calls for Owen Paterson to be suspended from Parliament, which led to a series of revelations against Tory MPs with consultancy positions outside of their parliamentary work.

Read more: Tory sleaze: Boris Johnson 'thinks rules don't apply to him', Ed Miliband fumes

Sky's Beth Rigby also asked the PM about how the government managed the Tory sleaze scandal.

"I think it's very important that all MPs work primarily and above all for their constituents" Mr Johnson said, drawing the ire of the room.

Read more: Maajid Nawaz: 'Tory sleaze the Achilles heel of government'

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He was pushed following the comment due to the government's insistence on delaying Owen Paterson's suspension for breaching parliamentary rules, before Mr Paterson resigned.

Read more: Minister: 'Sleaze claims aren't specific to Tories, I've only known Labour MPs go to jail'

"Anybody who lobbies on behalf of a commercial interest is clearly in breach of the rules" the Prime Minister reasserted.

"I think all MPs should follow the rules, I think the rules are there to protect them, protect the public, they're very simple to understand and we should just get on with it."