WATCH: ‘You cannot trust a word that Boris Johnson says,’ Nandy warns

Elliot Chappell

Lisa Nandy has warned that the publication of the Sue Gray report and the revelations relating to Boris Johnson and the ‘partygate’ scandal show that the public “cannot trust a word” that the Prime Minister says.

In a Sky News interview this morning, the Shadow Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary discussed the findings of the investigation by the senior civil servant into the numerous reports of rule breaking in Downing Street during the pandemic and described the situation as “extraordinary”.

“It’s not just that there are a lot of families around the country this morning who are looking at the revelations that have come to light in this report and the Prime Minister’s response and thinking how could it possibly be that we did follow these rules when the Prime Minister was telling us that they were important – and yet he presided over rot that ran right the way through government,” she said.

“It’s that we’re now in the extraordinary position of having a Prime Minister who has lied. He’s lied to the public, he’s lied to the House of Commons. You cannot trust a word that he says.

“So when he says ‘I’ll deal with the cost-of-living crisis’, when he says ‘I’ll stand up to Russian aggression in Ukraine’, what do you do? Because you cannot trust a word that this man says.”

The Cabinet Office published the 37-page report on Wednesday. In the document, Gray concluded that “the senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility” for the “culture” at the “heart of government”.

Keir Starmer told Johnson that “the game is up”, following the Prime Minister’s statement to parliament. He urged Conservative backbench MPs to remove Johnson from office, telling them: “You cannot be a lawmaker and a lawbreaker.”

The report by Gray summarised findings of an investigation into 16 events in 2020 and 2021, including a “socially distanced drinks” in the No 10 garden – about which some staff “expressed concern” as to whether the event was “appropriate”.

The report found that the then head of communications for Johnson, Lee Cain, had warned that the party would pose a “comms risk”. A special adviser also said it would be “helpful” if people avoided being seen “walking around with bottles of wine” as it was taking place after a press conference.

After the event, the then principal private secretary Martin Reynolds – who had invited staff and told them to bring alcohol – referenced the event to a special adviser in a Whatsapp message, saying: “Best of luck – a complete non story but better than them focusing on our drinks (which we seem to have got away with).”

Gray also wrote in the report published this morning that an “excessive amount of alcohol” was consumed at an event on June 18th 2020, at which one person “was sick” and there was a “minor altercation between two other individuals”.

The report included pictures of Johnson at social gatherings. In several of the photographs, he can be seen raising a glass in a crowded room. Several are dated from a date on which he previously told parliament there had been no party.

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