PMQs: Keir Starmer claims public thinks Johnson is ‘lying’
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The former lawyer demanded the Prime Minister’s resignation on Wednesday after saying the public could see he was “lying through his teeth”. Mr Johnson had apologised after admitting he attended a “bring your own booze” gathering in the No10 garden during the first lockdown, but said he believed it was a “work event”.
Labour has seized on the Conservative leader’s admission he was at the alleged party as proof the Government were failing to follow their own lockdown rules.
But last night a senior Tory hit back at the Opposition, pointing out Sir Keir’s criticism came despite having been pictured drinking with party staff last May.
Sir Keir was seen having a beer while standing close to two other people.
The image was taken from outside the window of a constituency office in Durham in the days leading up to the Hartlepool by-election.
At the time England was in step two out of the third lockdown and indoor mixing between different households was prohibited except in work scenarios.
Criticising the Labour leader, the Conservative source told The Telegraph: “Sir Keir has spent the past two months criticising people for doing the exact same thing he’s been doing himself.
“He is an absolute hypocrite.”
Mr Johnson also drew attention to the image during Prime Minister’s Questions earlier this week saying of Sir Keir: “He might explain why there are pictures of him quaffing beer – we have not heard him do so.”
Labour has always denied any rules were broken.
The party said in a statement: “Keir was in the workplace, meeting a local MP in her constituency office and participating in an online Labour Party event.
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“They paused for dinner as the meeting was during the evening.”
Mr Johnson has found himself under increasing pressure over the allegations of parties being held in Downing Street when the rest of the country was obeying lockdown rules.
Tory MPs have been left furious by the saga and fear confidence in the party among the public risks being irretrievably damaged.
Five Conservative MPs have publicly called for the Prime Minister to resign, with dozens more privately questioning if he can continue in the top job.
Mr Johnson has urged his party and the public to await the findings of an investigation by a senior civil servant into the claims of the gatherings.
Ministers, special advisers and officials have all been interviewed as part of the investigation which aims to establish if the law was broken.
No date has been given for the publication of the investigation’s findings, but it was thought it could be completed by the end of next week.
The Met Police have said they will consider if there is a need to open a criminal investigation once the findings of the report are published.
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