Keir Starmer slams Tory claims that Boris Johnson’s Partygate fine is as minor as a speeding ticket

“I also think that the pathetic display of Tory MPs going out to defend the indefensible is something that they will be ashamed of.”


Keir Starmer has slammed Tory claims that Boris Johnson breaking lockdown rules, for which he has received a fine from the Met police, is equivalent to a minor speeding ticket.

The Labour leader condemned the latest attempts of Tory MPs to excuse their leader’s law breaking, after Tory minister Brandon Lewis made the comparison during the morning broadcast rounds earlier today.

Starmer told ITV’s Lorraine programme that Tory MPs should be ashamed of themselves for defending the prime minister and said Boris Johnson’s law breaking wasn’t like a speeding fine at all.

He said: “In all of my days, I’ve never had anybody break down in front of me because they couldn’t drive at 35mph in a 30-mile zone.

“I’ve had no end of people in tears, in little bits, about complying with [Covid] rules that really, really hurt. them. And I don’t think that the public are going to accept this.

“I also think that the pathetic display of Tory MPs going out to defend the indefensible is something that they will be ashamed of.”

Starmer also said it was ‘offensive’ for No 10 to use the Ukraine war as a reason to argue Boris Johnson had to remain in office. He said: “I don’t really buy into this idea, by the way, that Johnson is the only person of any importance in the Ukraine crisis … He is using that, really, as a shield and I think that’s pretty offensive.”

Starmer’s comments came after Tory minister Brandon Lewis drew parallels between Boris Johnson’s Covid law-breaking and a speeding fine on BBC Breakfast. He had also compared Johnson’s law breaking to a parking ticket, during an appearance on Sky News.

Those comments have been condemned by a number of opposition MPs too. Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: “The excuses of Conservative ministers are getting more pathetic by the day. There is a massive difference between getting a parking fine and Boris Johnson breaking his own lockdown rules.

“It is an insult to bereaved families and all those who made huge sacrifices while Johnson partied in 10. Conservative MPs need to discover their moral backbone and sack Johnson instead of defending the indefensible.”

Caroline Lucas tweeted: “Oh spare us Brandon Lewis – have some self respect & stop trying to defend PM. “If someone gets a speeding ticket …I’m not in any way trying to equate a speeding ticket with sacrifices people made.”  That’s exactly what you’re doing & trashing decency in public life.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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