‘That’s someone who knows the game is up!’ Priti Patel’s reaction during Boris Johnson’s Partygate statement sparks social media memes as she struggles to hide her frustration
- Boris Johnson apologised to MPs yesterday amid fury over Partygate
- The weight of the scandal appeared to not be lost on the Home Secretary
- Priti Patel rubbed her head in seeming exasperation as the PM addressed MPs
Priti Patel appeared barely able to contain her frustration yesterday as Boris Johnson desperately tried to quell Tory Partygate fury in the House of Commons yesterday.
The Prime Minister apologised to MPs after senior official Sue Gray found ‘failures of leadership and judgment’ as gatherings were held while England was under coronavirus restrictions in 2020 and 2021.
Criticism came from across the House, including from former prime minister Theresa May who asked whether Mr Johnson either did not ‘read the rules’, understand them, or ‘didn’t think the rules applied to No 10’.
The weight of the scandal appeared to not be lost on Home Secretary Ms Patel, whose strained expression and apparent look of disbelief sparked a series of social media posts.
Some suggested that she appeared to be giving Mr Johnson ‘the finger’, while others claimed she was ‘squirming’ and ‘mentally updating her CV’ following the revelations in the Sue Gray report.
Priti Patel appeared to be rubbing her forehead yesterday as she sat beside the Prime Minister while he offered his mea culpa to the Commons
The Conservative front bench appeared disgruntled as their leader was grilled over the Sue Gray report yesterday. Rishi Sunak was one of the few MPs still wearing a face mask
Some suggested that the Home Secretary appeared to be giving Mr Johnson ‘the finger’, while others claimed she was ‘squirming’ following the revelations in the Sue Grey report
The weight of the scandal appeared to not be lost of Ms Patel, whose strained expression and apparent look of disbelief sparked a series of social media posts
Tories slam Johnson for running No10 like a ‘medieval court’ and warn he should be ‘very worried’ as Partygate police probe whether PM broke lockdown law FOUR TIMES
Boris Johnson (pictured today) is leaving the pressure cooker of Westminster on a diplomatic mission to Ukraine after a stripped back version of the Sue Gray report was published yesterday
Boris Johnson is still desperately trying to quell Tory Partygate fury today as MPs accuse him of running No10 like a ‘medieval court’ and warn he should be ‘very worried’ about a coup.
The PM is leaving the pressure cooker of Westminster on a diplomatic mission to Ukraine after a stripped back version of the Sue Gray report was published yesterday – but still revealed that he is being investigated by police over four breaches of lockdown law.
Mr Johnson suffered a mauling from a a slew of Conservatives in the Commons, with Theresa May demanding to know if he thought the rules ‘didn’t apply’ to him, and former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell saying the premier had lost his support.
Mr Mitchell stepped up his attack this morning warning that the row was as corrosive to the party as ‘battery acid’ and condemning Mr Johnson’s leadership style.
Even normally-loyal MPs conceded that the PM’s response in the chamber was a ‘car crash’, although Mr Johnson appeared to buy himself some time with a more conciliatory performance at a private meeting with his rank and file last night.
Writing in the Times, Lord Hague criticised Mr Johnson for getting the tone wrong, saying he should have ‘acknowledged that the buck stops with him’ and ought to be ‘very worried about the number of his own MPs who asked unhelpful questions’.
The looming verdict from Scotland Yard – which is sifting through more than 300 photos of Whitehall bashes and could interview both Mr Johnson and wife Carrie within days – could provide a moment of truth for the premier, but he has also been forced to agree that a full, unredacted version of Ms Gray’s report after the criminal process concludes.
Ms Gray had revealed in an ‘update’ that of the 16 alleged gatherings she had deemed necessary to investigate, at least 12 linked to government properties in Downing Street and Whitehall were being investigated by the police.
This included at least four directly linked to Mr Johnson either because he was reported to have attended, or because they are reported to have taken place in his flat.
Three alleged gatherings not previously reported were also included in the report.
But the police investigation had prevented her from delivering any meaningful report as to not impact the inquiry.
Mr Johnson told MPs in the Commons: ‘Firstly, I want to say sorry – and I’m sorry for the things we simply didn’t get right and also sorry for the way this matter has been handled.
‘It’s no use saying this or that was within the rules and it’s no use saying people were working hard. This pandemic was hard for everyone.’
He added: ‘I get it, and I will fix it. I want to say to the people of this country I know what the issue is.’
However, he faced a hostile response from some on his own side and the threat of a vote of no confidence has not yet been defeated.
Former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell told Mr Johnson he ‘no longer enjoys my support’.
Tory MP Angela Richardson announced she had quit as a ministerial aide to Michael Gove, sharing her ‘deep disappointment’ at the handling of the partygate row.
Aaron Bell, part of the 2019 intake of Red Wall MPs, recalled abiding by coronavirus restrictions for his grandmother’s May 2020 funeral before asking: ‘Does the Prime Minister think I’m a fool?’
In the Lords, ex-Whitehall chief and independent crossbencher Lord Kerslake said: ‘Even without the detail the general findings are utterly damning. This goes to the heart of government. Can government be trusted to do the right thing and tell the truth? It’s hard to think of anything more important than that.’
But Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg said the ‘mood was positive’ among Conservatives following an evening meeting on the Parliamentary estate.
He added: ‘So many people voted personally for Boris Johnson rather than voting for political parties.
‘Politicians have to accept that our bosses are the British people, and they voted for that, they put him in office.’
Peterborough MP Paul Bristow acknowledged it had been a ‘difficult day’ but said there was support for Mr Johnson.
Mr Bristow said he left ‘absolutely pumped’ and added that nobody in the meeting had called for Mr Johnson to go.
The change in mood came as No 10 confirmed the PM would ask Ms Gray to produce a second report after the police investigation concludes, and committed to publishing it.
But Ms Gray’s full report and the result of the police probe could yet threaten his premiership again, and Mr Johnson’s former chief aide Dominic cummings is due to questions on the report online on Tuesday which could provide more damaging details.
Mr Johnson apologised to MPs after senior official Sue Gray found ‘failures of leadership and judgment’ as gatherings were held while England was under coronavirus restrictions in 2020 and 2021
Polling on Monday night from Opinium said 62% of UK adults wanted the PM to resign, and 64% believed Tory MPs should make him go.
It comes after the Met revealed it is reviewing more than 300 images and over 500 pages of information passed to officers by the Gray inquiry.
Mr Rees-Mogg suggested the images should also be published, as he said: ‘The more people see, the more understanding there will be of precisely what went on.’
Mr Johnson also told MPs he was taking the issue seriously, underling how he had nearly died from coronavirus.
While reports suggested he had told his party that election strategist Sir Lynton Crosby would be offering him strategic advice.
Mr Johnson insisted he was ‘making changes’ to Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, including by creating an Office of the Prime Minister with a permanent secretary to lead No 10.
While Downing Street said work was being carried out on a new policy to tackle the drinking culture in No 10, although a blanket ban on drinking is unlikely given its function as a venue for receptions for visiting dignitaries and charity events.
However, one Conservative who heard from Mr Johnson on Monday said the message to him was that MPs would ‘judge you by your delivery’.
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