Partygate: Tory MP attempts to defend Prime Minister after fines
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Good Morning Britain presenter Adil became outraged when speaking to MP Brandon Lewis, who defended the Prime Minister after it was found he had breached lockdown rules by attending parties in Downing Street during the most restrictive phases of the pandemic. Ahead of Boris Johnson’s first speech to MPs since being fined for the incidents last week, Lewis stated Johnson had not broken the ministerial code, which caused Ray to furiously suggest “tearing up” the code as he demonstrated doing so.
“He accepts he’s broken the law, but has he also broken the ministerial code?” Ray asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
He continued: “The very code that holds democracy, holds accountability together within our parliament that ministers must abide by.
“Do you accept, Brandon Lewis, that the Prime Minister has broken the ministerial code?”
“No,” Lewis replied. “I don’t, that’s exactly the point I was just making.
“I think he has outlined to parliament what he believed to be correct and true at the time he outlined it to parliament, that’s what we do as parliamentarians.”
Later, co-host Kate Garraway asked: “He should have known the degree to which the rest of the country were following his rules.
“We know now he did break the law, he’s accepted it. So how was he so at odds in terms of being across that?”
Lewis answered: “Well as I say, if you look at the statement he made just last week after the fixed penalty notice was made public, for example, he just outlined how things were working in Downing Street on that day.
“The series of meetings he was having, the fact he went into that room where people did wish him a happy birthday.
“We’ve seen over the last couple of months the photographs of Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, having pizza and alcohol with his staff as well.
“Number 10 is a workplace environment and he was back-to-back in meetings that day as well as a visit to a school.
“But that doesn’t move away from the fact the police have come to a view, he’s accepted that view -“
“Well exactly,” Ray cut in. “He’s broken the law! And I want to come back to this point bout the ministerial code, because in my view we should just get rid of this code entirely.”
Picking up his notes, he fumed: “This is Boris Johnson’s own words, a foreword on the ministerial code in August 2019.”
The broadcaster went on to read: “‘To fulfil this mission’, and he’s referring to making Britain ‘the greatest place on earth’, ‘and win back the trust of the British people we must uphold very high standards of propriety and this codes sets out how we must do so’.
“The code goes on to say ‘should be read against the background of the overarching duty of ministers to comply with the law and to protect the integrity of public life.'”
Glaring at Lewis, he went on: “He hasn’t done that, so should we just tear up the ministerial code?”
Ray began to rip the papers he had been reading from as Lewis responded: “No I think the ministerial code is an important feature of our -“
“But how can it be important if he doesn’t abide by it?” Ray asked, exasperated.
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.
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