Grant Shapps mentions 'red box' in defence of Boris Johnson
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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps claimed the Prime Minister’s red box can be used as evidence that Boris Johnson did not intentionally mislead Parliament surrounding partygate. The Tory MP argued the presence of the Red Box demonstrates that the Prime Minister had been working and was not aware of any party that may have been arranged. Speaking to Sky News, Mr Shapps said: “He goes down, I see the red box, which is his work box you see.
“It looks to me like he goes down on his way out of the office and thanks the staff and raises a glass and doesn’t recognise that in his mind as a party.”
The Tory MP reasoned that the red box confirmed the Prime Minister had been at the location as part of his intense workday, not to attend any event that breached lockdown restrictions at the time.
Mr Shapps also asserted that the Prime Minister had only briefly entered the room to raise a glass to a fellow colleague, something he did not believe amounted to a party.
Host of Sky News Kay Burley highlighted: “People who were at that event have been fined.”
The Transport Secretary replied: “And we know from other events, including the birthday event, that some people in the room were and some people in the room weren’t and the police will have their reasons.”
He continued: “I’m not there to double guess the Met police or, indeed, the Durham police who are looking at different incidents.
“They have to look at the evidence along with Sue Gray and come to their conclusions.”
Ms Burley interrupted to clarify her initial question: “I’m not asking about the police.
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“I’m asking about what he said in Parliament when he said there was no event on the 13th November.”
She asked: “What did he think was happening when there were all these bottles on the table?”
Mr Shapps said: “I think probably what happened was he was at the end of a busy day and he walks down, he says cheers to somebody who’s worked there and walks out and says that is not a party.”
In the House of Commons, Labour MP Catherine West had specifically asked the Prime Minister if there had been a party on the 13th of November.
Mr Johnson replied: “No, but I’m sure that whatever happened, the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times.”
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Additional attention has been drawn to the specific event in 2020 after new photos emerged of the Prime Minister, surrounded by colleagues, raising a glass.
In the image, the Prime Minister’s red box can be seen close to him, beside a table covered in wine glasses and bottles.
Mr Shapps argues the presence of the Prime Minister’s red box demonstrates Mr Johnson was at the location for work purposes and had no knowledge of any party.
Therefore, the Tory MP claimed the Prime Minister had not lied to Parliament as he had not knowingly attended a party that breached lockdown restrictions.
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