SUNDERLAND SPEAKS: City's Conservative leader cannot see how PM Boris Johnson can survive latest lockdown breach claims as public has its say

Sunderland Conservatives leader Antony Mullen has said he does not see how Prime Minister Boris Johnson can survive the latest Downing Street lockdown-breaking claims.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 3:18 pm

Mr Mullen told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme the claims that the PM’s private secretary Martin Reynolds invited more than 100 No 10 staff members to a “bring your own booze” garden party in May 2020 was ‘absolutely appalling’, and said he was ‘not willing to defend the indefensible’.

“I think Martin Reynolds should have been sacked and I think Boris Johnson will inevitably have to follow him,” said Coun Mullen.

And he said a report by senior civil servant Sue Gray report was unlikely to clear the Prime Minister, adding: “I think this is such an atrocity, I can’t see how he can survive,” he said.

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Sunderland Tory leader Coun Antony Mullen and PM Boris Johnson

Downing Street had lost the support of the grassroots party and voters, said Coun Mullen, who added: “There is not a single member in Sunderland willing to defend him. Nobody is saying here ‘Let’s just overlook it and let him get on with the job of supporting the economy’.

"People are asking what the hell he is doing and why he is being allowed to continue.

"I think the public wants to hear that members of Boris Johnson’s party feel as angry about what has happened as they do.

"I am not willing to defend the indefensible and none of our members here are either.”

Asked about suggestions that allegations against the Prime Minister were being drip-fed to cause maximum harassment and trouble, he said the way in which details emerged was less important than the allegations themselves.

“There are two ways of looking at it,” said Coun Mullen.

"Even if the information is being drip-fed, it still happened and it was still wrong that it happened, whether we found out immediately or whether it has been drip-fed to us to cause maximum damage.

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“The means by which we find out seems to me to be unimportant - if the facts of the case are true, if this party went ahead, its doesn’t matter if we found out the day after of if we are finding out a year after, it should not have happened either way.”

Mr Mullen said he did not believe the Prime Minister could be fully cleared of any wrongdoing and it was now a question of exactly how culpable he was found to be : “I don’t see now how this investigation can fully clear Boris Johnson, I don’t think that is an option,” he said.

"I think it is now a question of the scale of the wrongdoing rather than whether there has been any, so I’m not convinced this report is going to come out and say, ‘Actually, nothing happened’.”

Meanwhile, the senior Downing Street official who invited more than 100 employees to a “bring your own booze” party in the No 10 garden during Covid restrictions retains the full confidence of the Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman confirmed Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary, “continues in his role” after ITV news revealed he invited employees to the gathering during England’s first lockdown in May 2020.

Asked whether Mr Johnson still had full confidence in one of his most senior aides, the spokesman said he did.

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