Call for PM to resign over 'parties' and Commons statement

Catherine West MP

Hornsey MP Catherine West tabled a debate in Parliament over the rent hikes and eviction notices in Gisburn Mansions - Credit: Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0)

A Haringey MP has called on the prime minister to resign after it emerged two gatherings were held in Downing Street on November 13 – despite previous questions raised in parliament. 

Sue Gray's update, published on Monday, lists within the scope of her review two "events" at Downing Street on that date in 2020: both "a gathering in the No 10 Downing Street flat" and "a gathering in No 10 Downing Street on the departure of a special adviser".

On December 8 last year, Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West asked Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions: “Will the prime minister tell the house whether there was a party in Downing Street on November 13?” 

The prime minister answered: “No, but I am sure that whatever happened, the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times.” 

Both "events" fall within the scope of the ongoing police investigation, and Mr Johnson could himself still face a £100 fine for breaching restrictions.

Ms Gray's full report, addressing specific incidents, will not be published until the police investigation is completed.

In the Commons on Monday, Ms West quizzed Mr Johnson on whether he "inadvertently mislead this House". 

Mr Johnson responded: "I stick by what I said to the honourable lady, and if she cares about democracy and due process, she should wait until the inquiry has been concluded."

Most Read

Ms West told the Ham&High: “When I asked the PM last year whether there was a party in Downing Street on November 13, he said no.   

“Now, we learn that there was not one but two parties that night, one in the PM’s own flat, and that both have passed the threshold for criminal investigations.   

“Johnson’s actions and repeated lies are dragging our democracy through the mud. He must resign.” 

Ms Gray's update highlighted "failures of leadership and judgment" at Number 10, saying “it seems there was too little thought given to what was happening across the country". 

The prime minister made a statement in the Commons, saying: “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."

He said he understands the anger people feel and promised a restructure of operations at Downing Street.