Dominic Raab has insisted that Boris Johnson did not break the ministerial code – even though he was fined by police for attending a lockdown-busting party in Downing Street.
As the government’s ethics chief reportedly threatened to quit over the scandal, the deputy prime minister said on Wednesday that Johnson had “unintentionally” and “inadvertently” broken the law by attending the gathering.
He claimed this did not amount to a breach of the ministerial code, despite the prime minister’s ethics chief – Lord Geidt – querying whether it had been.
And Raab suggested there would not be a confidence vote on Johnson’s leadership next week.
He told Sky News: “I just don’t see that. I think the Westminster bubble and village whips this stuff up. I’m not saying it’s not serious and significant. But we dealt with all of those issues, the prime minister has dealt with all those issues.”
Speaking to broadcasters, Raab said Geidt had “made clear a number of concerns but the prime minister has addressed them in his response and in particular made clear the explanation that he didn’t believe he’d broken the ministerial code.
“In relation to the single fixed-penalty notice, it had been an unintentional breach of the law and inadvertent in the sense that he turned up to the gathering without having realised it would be in breach of the relevant regulations.”
Watch the excruciating exchange below.