PM staying on 'a very sad moment for our democracy', says David Lammy

12 April 2022, 19:32

David Lammy: PM staying on 'a very sad moment for our democracy'

By Sophie Barnett

Boris Johnson's "business as normal" attitude to being fined for breaking his own lockdown rules at No10 is "a very sad moment for our democracy", David Lammy has said.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Shadow foreign secretary and LBC presenter David Lammy told Andrew Pierce the Prime Minister's decision not to step down "dishonours the sacrifices the British people have made".

Reacting to the Prime Minister's apology on Tuesday, Mr Lammy described it as "straining incredulity", adding it is "a very sad moment for our democracy".

"Sixteen parties, 12 under investigation, 50 FPNs delivered in his No10. A No10 that he leads, at a time when the public were asked to make the most severe restrictions in their lives, and this Prime Minister says 'I've received a criminal sanction, my wife's received a criminal sanction, the chancellor of the exchequer has received a criminal sanction, and it's business as usual'," he said.

"It undermines our democracy, it dishonours the sacrifices the British people have made, and it's a very, very sad moment indeed."

Read more: Boris says sorry and pays Partygate fine but insists he won't quit

Read more: PM, Carrie and Chancellor hit with fines for lockdown-busting party breaches

'The worst part of this is taking the British people for fools.'

It was confirmed on Tuesday that Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie and the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak had received fines from the Metropolitan Police.

It follows a lockdown-busting party held for the Prime Minister in the Cabinet Office of No10 on June 19, 2020, arranged by Mrs Johnson.

The fine makes Boris Johnson first sitting British prime minister to have broken the law.

In a grovelling apology on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said he "humbly accepts" he was in breach of the rules, claiming it didn't occur to him at the time that he had.

"Let me say immediately that I've paid the fine and I once again offer a full apology and in the spirit of openness and humility I want to be completely clear about what happened on that date," Mr Johnson said.

"My day began shortly after 7am and I chaired eight meetings in Number 10, including the Cabinet committee deciding Covid strategy.

"I visited a school in Hemel Hempstead, which took me out of Downing Street for over four hours and amongst all these engagements on a day that happened to be my birthday, there was a brief gathering in the Cabinet Room shortly after 2pm lasting for less than 10 minutes, during which people I work with kindly passed on their good wishes.

"And I have to say in all frankness at that time it did not occur to me that this might have been a breach of the rules."

He added that he won't resign over the lockdown breach, saying the best thing he can do now is "focus on the job in hand".

A spokesperson for Carrie Johnson said she has paid the fixed penalty notice and “apologises unreservedly”.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is yet to make a statement.