'He's winging it': Mumsnet CEO suggests Boris is not 'qualified' to be PM

1 June 2022, 14:24 | Updated: 1 June 2022, 19:27

Boris Johnson is winging it as PM, Mumsnet chief says

By Asher McShane

The CEO of Mumsnet tonight accused Boris Johnson of 'winging it' and suggested he was not 'qualified' to be PM.

Justine Roberts told Andrew Pierce on LBC that Mr Johnson was the "kind of man who is winging it".

She added: “We’ve all come across this idea that men who aren’t particularly qualified or aren’t particularly learned or researched feel they can do a good job nonetheless.”

It comes after Roberts grilled Mr Johnson with questions from Mumsnet users this morning and the PM revealed he considered stepping down over Partygate but said it would not be “responsible right now” as he answered questions from the public.

Asked about the fallout from Partygate, he said: “"I have thought about all these questions a lot. I can't see how it would be responsible right now, given everything that is going on, simply to abandon the project I embarked on."

‘"I am not going to deny that the whole thing hasn't been a totally miserable experience for people in government.

"We have got to learn from it and understand the mistakes we made and move forward,” he said.

One user asked the PM: “Why should we believe anything you say when it’s been proven you are a habitual liar?”

“I don’t agree with the conclusion. But look, the best way for me to answer that is to say, look at what I get on and deliver and what I say I’m going to deliver. That’s what I’m in politics to do. To try and make life better for people if I possibly can.”

“We’re getting on and delivering."

Mumsnet Chief Executive Justine Roberts told Andrew Pierce on LBC that Mr Johnson was the "kind of man who is winging it".
Mumsnet Chief Executive Justine Roberts told Andrew Pierce on LBC that Mr Johnson was the "kind of man who is winging it". Picture: Alamy
Boris Johnson said it would not be “responsible right now" to quit as PM
Boris Johnson said it would not be “responsible right now" to quit as PM. Picture: Alamy

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"People throw all sorts of accusations at me about all sorts of things, ever since I drove around with a sign on a bus. They have all sorts of reasons for saying that, but I think you’ve just got to look at the record.”

Asking a question about Partygate, he said he was “surprised and taken aback” to have been fined by police.

The comments come a day after Mr Johnson faced criticism from his ethics adviser over his handling of the partygate scandal, with Lord Geidt suggesting the PM's fixed penalty notice (FPN) may have breached the ministerial code.

He said a "legitimate question" had arisen as to whether the FPN, issued for a June 2020 birthday party thrown in Mr Johnson's honour in the Cabinet Room, might have constituted a breach of the "overarching duty within the ministerial code of complying with the law".

Mr Johnson, in a letter released on Tuesday, said the fine "did not breach" the code as there was "no intent to break the law".

Mr Raab repeated this assertion during a round of interviews on Wednesday, saying the PM had been clear that his attendance at the birthday gathering was "inadvertent".

Lord Geidt, the independent adviser on the ministerial code, also questioned the Prime Minister's willingness to "take responsibility for his own conduct" in relation to the ministerial rules, and delivered a withering assessment of exchanges with Downing Street officials.

In his response, Mr Johnson said he had taken "full responsibility for everything that took place on my watch" in light of lockdown-busting gatherings in Downing Street, and pointed to his House of Commons apology.

Amid suggestions Lord Geidt was considering his position over the handling of the issue, the Cabinet Office insisted he was not quitting.

Mr Raab said on Wednesday that he was "not privy to the conversation" on the matter.

But Lord Geidt appeared to hint at the prospect when, in his annual report, he noted he had attempted to avoid offering advice to Mr Johnson about his obligations under his own ministerial code.

He added: "If a Prime Minister's judgment is that there is nothing to investigate or no case to answer, he would be bound to reject any such advice, thus forcing the resignation of the independent adviser.

"Such a circular process could only risk placing the ministerial code in a place of ridicule."

The exchanges were made public after more Tory MPs openly called for Mr Johnson to quit in the wake of Sue Gray's report on lockdown parties in Downing Street.

There is growing belief at Westminster that it is only a matter of time before the 54 letters from Conservative MPs needed to trigger a confidence vote are submitted to the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady.

So far, more than 25 MPs have publicly called on the Prime Minister to stand down - although not all of them have said whether they have written to Sir Graham.

Which Tory MPs have publicly called for Boris Johnson to resign?

William Wragg - MP for Hazel Grove and Vice-Chairman of the 1922 Committee

Caroline Nokes - MP Romsey and Southampton North

Tim Loughton - MP for East Worthing

David Davis - MP for Haltemprice and Howden

Andrew Mitchell - MP for Royal Sutton Coldfield

Peter Aldous - MP for Waveney

Tobias Ellwood - chairman of the defence select committee and MP for Bournemouth East

Sir Gary Streeter - MP for South West Devon

Anthony Mangnall - MP for Totnes

Aaron Bell - MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme

Sir Nick Gibb - MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton

Craig Whittaker - MP for Calder Valley

Nigel Mills - MP for Amber Valley

Karen Bradley - MP for Staffordshire Moorlands

Mark Harper - MP for Forest of Dean

Steve Baker - MP for Wycombe

Sir Roger Gale - MP for North Thanet

Julian Sturdy – MP for York Outer

Angela Richardson – MP for Guildford

Steve Brine – MP for Winchester

David Simmonds - MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner

John Baron - MP for Basildon and Billericay

Stephen Hammond - MP for Wimbledon

Alicia Kearns - MP for Rutland and Melton

Sir Bob Neill - MP for Bromley and Chislehurst

Anne Marie Morris - MP for Newton Abbot

Jeremy Wright - MP for Kenilworth and Southam

Elliot Colburn - MP for Carshalton and Wallington

Andrew Bridgen - MP for North West Leicestershire

John Stevenson - MP for Carlisle

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