Christchurch MP Sir Christopher Chope defends Prime Minister Boris Johnson after 'bring your own booze' party apology
CHRISTCHURCH MP Sir Christopher Chope has leapt to the defence of Prime Minister Boris Johnson after his apology for attending a ‘bring your own booze’ party during the pandemic.
In an interview with the BBC, the veteran Tory backbencher said he had "never heard such an abject apology from a government minister" during his three-plus decades as an MP
"I think that the Prime Minister showed contrition and he realised he had done the wrong thing in not intervening at the time and all the rest of it," Sir Christopher remarked.
"I think when somebody makes an apology like that, reasonable people accept the apology – obviously with the caveat that this is continuing because there’s a continuing inquiry," he added.
Sir Christopher was speaking immediately after the Prime minster’s Questions session earlier today (Wednesday).
During it Mr Johnson said sorry about the "bring your own bottle" drinks function he turned up to on 20th May 2020 – but claimed he had thought it was a work event.
His statement sparked calls from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer for the Prime Minister to stand down.
But the PM has so far refused to go and urged MPs to await a report being compiled by senior civil servant Sue Gray, who is investigating a string of alleged rule-breaking events in Whitehall.
In the Commons Mr Johnson told MPs: "Number 10 is a big department with a garden as an extension of the office which has been in constant use because of the role of fresh air in stopping the virus.
"When I went into that garden just after six on 20th May 2020 to thank groups of staff before going back into my office 25 minutes later to continue working, I believed implicitly that this was a work event.
"With hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside. I should have found some other way to thank them.
"I should have recognised that even if it could be said technically to fall within the guidance, there are millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way, people who have suffered terribly, people who were forbidden for meeting loved ones at all inside or outside, and to them and to this House I offer my heartfelt apologies."