WATCH: Raab, Sunak and Johnson give three car crash interviews in one day

Sienna Rodgers

Dominic Raab, Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson have already given three car crash interviews today. The Justice Secretary accidentally referred to the so-called “work event” in May 2020 as a “party” before backtracking, the Chancellor abruptly ended an interview after saying the ministerial code is “clear” on whether a minister who knowingly misleads must resign, and the Prime Minister himself offered the pitiful defence of “nobody said that this was something that was against the rules”.

1. Dominic Raab

When Dominic Raab referred to “the 20th May party” – as he might be expected to do, given it was a party that took place on 20th May 2020 – Kay Burley asked: “So it was a party?”. “No, no, no, no, no,” came the rushed reply. “This is the claim that was made,” Raab insisted.

2. Rishi Sunak

Asked whether he believes Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak said: “Of course I do. The Prime Minister set out his understanding of the situation in parliament last week and I’d refer you to his words.

“As you know, Sue Gray is conducting an inquiry into this matter, and I fully support the Prime Minister’s request for patience while that inquiry concludes.”

Asked whether Boris Johnson should resign if he lied when claiming not to have been warned that the May 2020 party should not go ahead, Sunak replied: “Well, I’m not going to get into hypotheticals. The ministerial code is clear on these matters.

“As you know, Sue Gray is conducting an inquiry into the situation, and I think it’s right we allow her to conclude that job. Thanks very much. Thanks.” He walked out of the interview abruptly while still wearing his microphone.

3. Boris Johnson

The worst of the three interviews today was probably that of Boris Johnson, who looked downcast while being grilled by Sky’s Beth Rigby, who has two sources saying the Prime Minister was warned about the event being inadvisable.

Johnson said: “Nobody told me that what we were doing was as you say against the rules, that the event in question was… we were going to do something that wasn’t a work event. As I said in the House of Commons, when I went out into that garden, I thought I was attending a work event.”

Pressed further, he added: “I can tell you categorically that nobody told me and nobody said that this was something that was against the rules, it was a breach of the Covid rules, or that we were doing something that wasn’t a work event.

“Because frankly I don’t think, I can’t imagine why on earth it would have gone ahead, or why it would have been allowed to go ahead. My memory of this event, as I said, is going out into the garden for about 25 minutes for what I implicitly thought was a work event.”

He later said: “I carry full responsibility for what took place. But nobody said to me ‘this is an event that is against the rules, that is in breach of what we’re asking everybody else to do, should not go ahead’.”

The Prime Minister repeated the claim that he did not see the “bring your own booze!” invitation email sent by Martin Reynolds, his own principal private secretary. But he repeatedly did not rule out resigning, saying only “let’s see what the report says”.

Johnson appeared tearful towards the end of the interview, when he was asked about the Downing Street parties that took place the night before Prince Philip’s funeral and revealed that he had personally apologised to the Queen.

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