Scope of probe has clearly grown: UK lawmaker on Downing Street parties

Written By: Jodie Cohen WION
Jerusalem Updated: Jan 21, 2022, 03:25 PM(IST)

WION's Jodie Cohen (right) speaks with Jonathan Oates, British lawmaker Photograph:( WION )

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In UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is finding himself at the receiving end over the 'Covid party'. WION's Jodie Cohen spoke with Jonathan Oates, who is a Member of House of Lords, to get his valuable input on this

UK PM Boris Johnson is facing a lot of heat over the parties that are alleged to have been taken place flouting Covid rules. WION's Jodie Cohen spoke with Jonathan Oates, a British Liberal Democrat politician and member of House of Lords.

He was formerly chief of staff to Nick Clegg former deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom. He weighed in on the situation Borish Johnson finds himself in. 

WION: Lord Oates, in the latest, former secretary of state and chairman of the Conservative Party David Davis, has called for Prime Minister Johnson to go. How damaging is this, as well as the defection of MP Christian Wakeford to the Labour Party?

Lord Oates: Clearly is not helpful. Although paradoxically the decision of Christian Wakeford to defect has brought at least temporary coming together of the Tory tribe, making them feel perhaps that Labour is the real threat in the long term. I think David Davis' intervention clearly had a big impact. Cetainly in my household there was a big gasp as he delivered those words. 

But he doesn't have a huge following in the Conservative Party to be honest. He is known to be a bit of a narcissist. He has got rather a big ego. I think there was a bit of a feeling that he was grandstanding.

So I think, to some extent, yesterday's events helped in short term Prime Minister Johnson. I am not sure whether in the long-term that would prove to be true.


WION: In Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Johnson said that people must wait for the results of Sue Gray’s probe. What is the scope of the probe, and what do you think the results will show?

Lord Oates: Scope of the probe has grown day by day as more and more evidence emerges of events in No 10 Downing Street... It's expanded. It's really looking into the breach of Covid rules. Of course, Sue Gray is a civil servant who ultimately reports to the cabinet secretary and ultimately to the prime minister. Both the Cabinet secretary and PM are deeply implicated in these alleged parties. Ultimately, she has a very difficult job. I have worked with her in the past during the coalition govt.

She is somebody of integrity. She is a tough person. I'm sure she will be willing to take tough decisions. If she finds the facts are that the rules were broken, I think the prime minister could be in a lot of trouble. Particularly if she finds evidence that he was told as his former advisor Dominic Cummings says, that it was a party and it should not go ahead.

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