Boris Johnson says Partygate critics are 'out of their mind'

Boris Johnson blasts critics over Partygate and claims anyone who believes he covered up lockdown get-togethers is ‘out of their mind’

  • The former PM insisted everyone thought they were obeying lockdown rules 
  • This comes before the next stage of parliamentary inquiry into Partygate is due 
  • READ MORE: Boris Johnson says Brexit ‘saved lives’ in TV interview

Boris Johnson has accused critics of being ‘out of their mind’ for suggesting he knowingly attended lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street or tried to cover them up.

The former prime minister insisted he thought everyone at No 10 was obeying the rules on social gatherings at the height of the pandemic.

And he stressed that he and his staff were working ‘blindingly hard’ on tackling Covid-19 through increased testing and rolling out the vaccine.

Mr Johnson made his comments before the next stage of the parliamentary inquiry into Partygate. The privileges committee started investigating him last April after he was fined by police for attending his own surprise birthday party in the Cabinet room in June 2020, and is looking into whether or not he misled the Commons when he insisted all guidance was followed.

Almost a year on, the MPs are still gathering evidence but are expected to begin calling witnesses, including the former prime minister himself, within weeks.

Police decided that this Downing Street garden party, which was attended by Mr Johnson, his then fiancee Carrie Symonds and staff, did not warrant an investigation

Asked about the case by his ally Nadine Dorries in an interview for her new TalkTV show, Mr Johnson said: ‘There’s a parliamentary committee looking into some aspects of this and I had better be respectful of them.

‘But I’ll just repeat what I’ve said before, and I hope it’s obvious… that anybody who thinks I was knowingly going to parties that were breaking lockdown rules in No 10, and then knowingly covering up parties that were illicit that other people were going to, that’s all strictly for the birds. And if anybody thinks like that, they’re out of their mind.’

He added: ‘I’ve got to wait for this thing to conclude. What I would say is that we all thought what we were doing – or certainly, I thought what we were doing – was within the rules.

‘And what we certainly thought was that we were working blindingly hard on some massive priorities.

READ MORE: Row breaks out as broadcasters plan to air Boris Johnson’s Partygate hearing live on TV

‘So what we were doing was getting that vaccine rollout organised. We were thinking desperately about how to… ramp up testing, and all the rest of it.’

Mr Johnson, whose interview will be broadcast tomorrow, also claimed Brexit helped save lives by allowing the UK to start delivering the Covid vaccine faster than countries in the EU.

‘Had it not been for our ability to do our own regulation, had it not been for the fact that we’d come out of the European Medicines Agency, the MHRA, the medical health regulation agency, was now free to decide how fast to approve the vaccine – we wouldn’t have been able to do that vaccine rollout so fast,’ he said. ‘It is literally true that Brexit helped save lives. People’s eyes bulge a bit when you say that, but it happens to be true… I’m proud of that.’

Three hours after Mr Johnson’s interview was announced, it emerged that his rival Rishi Sunak is to be interviewed on the same channel today.

The Prime Minister will be grilled from inside Downing Street by Piers Morgan at 8pm tonight to mark his 100th day in office.

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