'Not even Keir should quit!': Ann Widdecombe says MPs shouldn't resign over Covid breaches

8 May 2022, 15:24 | Updated: 8 May 2022, 15:34

Politicians shouldn't quit over lockdown breaches says Ann Widdecombe
Politicians shouldn't quit over lockdown breaches says Ann Widdecombe . Picture: Alamy/LBC

By James Bickerton

Neither Keir Starmer nor Boris Johnson should quit over reported coronavirus lockdown breaches according to Ann Widdecombe, the former Tory Minister and Brexit Party MEP.

Durham police are investigating an event on April 30, attended by Sir Keir, to check if Covid rules were broken.

Mr Johnson has already been fined £50 for breaching rules at his birthday celebration in June 2020, along with his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Sir Keir called for both the Prime Minister and Chancellor to resign after their fines, raising pressure on him to step down if he is fined in turn.

However, appearing on Andrew Castle's LBC show, Ms Widdecombe said none of the politicians implicated should quit.

She argued: "My view is actually nobody should resign.

"I don't want the Prime Minister to resign, I don't want Rishi to resign, I don't want anyone to resign because they're fined.

"The country has many more important things to think about.'

However Ms Widdecombe added she can understand calls for Sir Keir to quit if fined to avoid hypocrisy.

She said: "If you're to be judged by your own standards then Keir has said the Prime Minister should resign, Angela [Rayner] has said the Prime Minister should resign, so it's perfectly reasonable to say to them 'well if that's what you think - then you should resign'."

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After the Metropolitan Police announced fines for Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak, Sir Keir said "they must both resign" as they had "repeatedly lied to the British public".

Ms Widdecombe suggested this may have been a mistake by the Labour leader, commenting: "My main query is Keir Starmer's judgement because he's known all along that he was vulnerable on this and yet he spent months, and it has been months, attacking the Prime Minister at every available opportunity.

"He must have known there was a high risk, and a risk that would only increase the more he banged on about it with the Prime Minister, that his own wrongdoing would be exposed."

The Metropolitan Police are still investigating a number of other potentially lockdown breaching events in Whitehall, some of which were attended by the Prime Minister.

This raises the prospect of Mr Johnson facing further fines, with Sue Gray's report into the scandal due to be published after the police have finished their inquiries.