Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has attempted to excuse Boris Johnson’s attendance at an illegal Downing Street garden party in May 2020 by claiming that the Coronavirus restriction were “very hard for people to obey”.
Rees-Mogg, the Conservative Leader of the House and arch-Brexiteer, also went on to compare Johnson’s decision to attend the party to that of a friend who could not attend his two year-old granddaughter’s funeral.
Answering a question about Johnson’s behaviour in the House of Commons this morning, Rees-Mogg began his excuse by claiming:
“The Prime Minister came here yesterday and apologised. He said that, with hindsight, it was not what should have happened or what he would have wanted to have happened.
“It is being investigated by Sue Gray, a Civil Servant of the highest integrity and of the greatest reputation.”
However, Rees-Mogg then immediately attempted to excuse Johnson’s behaviour, by saying:
“But I think that everybody understands, on all sides of the House, that people were obeying the rules, and that these rules were very hard for people to obey.”
The Tory Leader of the House then went on to compare Johnson’s predicament to a friend whose granddaughter had recently died, stating:
“I received a message last night from a friend of mine, who was unable to go to the funeral of his two year-old granddaughter.
“One cannot hear these stories without grieving for people who suffered. And these were decisions that were taken at the beginning of the pandemic that affected everybody, and they were very hard.”
“And so we must consider when this goes to an inquiry, and we look into what happened with Covid, whether all these regulations were proportionate, or whether it was too hard on people.”
Rees-Mogg’s extraordinary excuse was met with howls of derision from members of the opposition benches.
You can watch the exchange below:
'These rules were very hard for people to obey'@Jacob_Rees_Mogg suggests the Covid inquiry may find that coronavirus laws were 'too hard on people' after being asked about @BorisJohnson's behaviour https://t.co/EL0hzH1Wq0 pic.twitter.com/rB0DwuH4kF
— ITV News Politics (@ITVNewsPolitics) January 13, 2022