Boris Johnson has said Partygate doesn’t matter to voters – and vowed to lead the Tories into the next election.
The scandal-hit prime minister repeatedly dodged questions over this political future as he flew out to India on a trade mission.
Speaking to journalists on the plane, Johnson said he would not quit – and said he would “of course” fight the next election.
‘Get on and focus’
The prime minister’s travels are taking him away from Westminster as MPs prepare for a crunch vote on whether to investigate if he misled Parliament with his Partygate excuses.
Asked if he was concerned about missing the vote, he said: “I really don’t think, I couldn’t think of anything more to say, no matter how long I have to sit on the bench, I couldn’t add a word to the discussion that would add any value.
“I’m focused on jobs, growth and a fantastic partnership with India.”
Johnson’s allies are expected to try and delay the vote on Thursday by tabling an amendment to push the confrontation back until after the police and Sur Gray have completed their respective Partygate probes.
And the prime minister rejected calls to put himself forward for a confidence vote to see off his critics.
‘Things that matter’
“The best thing to do for the people, for Parliament, is to get on and focus on the things we were elected to do,” he said.
“I think politics has taught me one thing which is that you’re better off talking and focussing on the things that matter and the things that make a real difference to the electorate, and not about politicians themselves.”
Questioned whether Partygate doesn’t matter, Johnson said: “You’re better off talking about things other than politicians themselves.”
Asked in what circumstances he’d consider resigning, he said: “I’m not going to speculate. I’m going to try and focus on the job in a hand. Not a lot would spring to mind at the moment.”
He added: “I don’t propose to go.” Asked if he would fight the next election, he said: “Of course, yes.”