Wellingborough MP Peter Bone "absolutely believes" Boris Johnson is telling the truth over No10 Christmas party

"The Prime Minister was nowhere near any party ... if there was a party"

Thursday, 9th December 2021, 9:30 am
Updated Thursday, 9th December 2021, 9:32 am

Wellingborough MP Peter Bone stepped into the row over a Downing Street Christmas party by saying he absolutely believes Boris Johnson is telling the truth.

The Prime Minister is said to be facing mounting pressure from senior backbenchers over an alleged breach of lockdown rules last year.

And Mr Bone believes the PM faces a "major rebellion" in next week's vote on introducing 'Plan B' measures to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But, grilled on Newsnight on Wednesday (December 8), Mr Bone told the BBC's Emily Maitlis that talk of Tories losing faith in their leader was "a little over the top."

He said: "I absolutely believe he was telling the truth.

"If you're Prime Minster you've got 1,001 things. He's probably said there's a problem with parties, did they happen?

"Someone, probably quite senior, has gone off and come back told him they didn't happen. And that's what he's told Parliament.

Wellingborough MP Peter Bone grilled by Emily Maitlis on BBC Newsnight

"If you're Prime Minister you're relying on someone telling you. You can't expect the Prime Minster to go scurrying around.

Mr Johnson told Parliament yesterday: “I repeat that I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken, and that is what I have been repeatedly assured."

He apologised "unreservedly" for the offence caused by a video clip leaked to ITV of his former press chief Allegra Stratton joking with colleagues about the party.

Ms Stratton resigned as a government adviser three hours after the PM's apology.

Mr Bone described the controversial video as "black humour," adding "we only saw a very limited amount of that recording.

"I think that has been released by someone trying to put the Prime Minister down.

"The Prime Minister was nowhere near any party ... if there was a party."

New rules announced last night, some of which start on Friday (December 10), include masks in most public places, Covid passes or proof of negative tests for some venues and work from home guidance.

Some MPs, including Tories, labelled the Prime Minister's announcement a diversionary tactic.

Mr Bone, who had an 11,787 majority at the 2019 General Election, insisted: "That was might first though but I checked around and it did seem that scientists were very very insistent because of increase in this new variant."

But he added: "I think there's a lot of support for Boris, although a lot unhappiness about some of the measures announced today.

"I think there will be a major rebellion on Tuesday when they come to the House.

"I do think that certan measures that have been announced are wrong — vaccine passports for example are of no benefit whatsoever and will affect our civil liberties."