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Sir Keir Starmer’s savage response to Boris Johnson’s ‘mealy-mouthed’ partygate apology

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 20th April 2022

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson yesterday, following the Prime Minster’s apology in the House of Commons.

The PM addressed MPs for the first time since he was issued with a fine by the Metropolitan Police for breaching Covid rules back in 2020.

Mr Johnson said that ‘people had a right to expect better of their Prime Minister’ and that he would like to ‘repeat my whole-hearted apology’ to the House.

But Sir Keir said that the public ‘don’t believe a word the Prime Minster says’ and blasted the apology as ‘a joke’.

He also said that the PM was ‘dishonest and incapable of changing’ and urged the Conservative party not to ‘insult the public with this nonsense’.

Sir Keir Starmer labelled Boris Johnson ‘dishonest’ after his partygate apology. Credit: BBC

The partygate scandal – which has seen several Downing Street and Whitehall officials issued with fines for breaking the Government’s own Covid rules – was also labelled as not being a ‘glitch in the system’ by the leader of the opposition.

Sir Keir said: “What a joke. Even now, as the latest mealy-mouthed apology stumbles out of one side of his mouth, a new set of deflections and distortions pour from the other.


“But the damage is already done. The public have made up their mind. They don’t believe a word the Prime Minister says. They know what he is.

“As ever with this Prime Minister, those close to him find themselves ruined, and the institutions he vows to protect, damaged. Good minsters forced to walk away from public service. The Chancellor’s career up in flames, and the leaders of the Scottish Conservatives rendered pathetic.

Boris Johnson apologised again to MPs in the House of Commons. Credit: BBC

“For all those unfamiliar with this Prime Minster’s career, this isn’t some fixable glitch in the system. It’s the whole point. It’s what he does. It’s who he is.


“He knows he’s dishonest and incapable of changing, so he drags everybody else down with him.

“The more people debase themselves parroting his absurd defences, the more the public will believe all politicians are the same, all as bad as each other, and that suits this Prime Minster just fine.

“Some members opposite seem oblivious to the Prime Minster’s game, some know what he’s up to but are too weak to act, but others are gleefully playing the part the Prime Minster cast for them.

MPs in the House of Commons yesterday. Credit: BBC

“A minister on the radio this morning saying ‘It’s the same as a speeding ticket’. No it’s not. No one has ever broken down in tears because they couldn’t drive faster than 20mph outside a school. Don’t insult the public with this nonsense.”

Boris Johnson had repeated his apology to MPs yesterday too.


He said: “Let me begin in all humility by saying that on the 12th of April, I received a fixed penalty notice relating to an event in Downing Street on the 19th of June 2020.

“I paid the fine immediately and I offered the British people a full apology, and I take this opportunity on the first available sitting day, to repeat my whole-hearted apology to the House.

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“As soon as I received the notice, I acknowledged the hurt and the anger, and I said that people had a right to expect better of their Prime Minister. And I repeat that, Mr Speaker, again in the House now.

“Let me also say, not by way of mitigation or excuse, but purely because it explains my previous words in this House, that it did not occur to me then or subsequently that a gathering in the Cabinet Room just before a vital meeting on Covid strategy could amount to a breach of the rules.


“I repeat that was my mistake and I apologise for it unreservedly.

“I respect the outcome of the police investigation, which is still under way, and I can only say that I will respect their decision-making and always take the appropriate steps.”

Featured image: BBC