Davey on Partygate: “Our prime minister just doesn’t get it”

Ed Davey has been busy appearing almost everywhere in the media in the last two days. This morning alone, Davey has spoken to BBC R4, BBC 5 Live, BBC Breakfast and Sky News. In this article, Newshound covers the interviews on Radio 4’s Today programme and BBC Breakfast.

On Today, Davey said that he was right to criticise the police originally. They changed their policy on the investigation and have since done the job well. The country is in crisis with the cost of living emergency and Ukraine. The prime minister and chancellor were dishonest. The trust in them that is vital during a crisis has gone. They should resign. The government’s got an appalling record on the economy and now they’ve broken their own laws.

These themes were picked on BBC Breakfast, when Ed Davey also spoke with passion about families not being able to see their families for five minutes when they were dying, yet the prime minister could party for five minutes. Davey also spoke emotionally about the plight of Ukrainian refugees, saying a new leadership could be true to the compassion and generosity the British on refugees rather than imposing paperwork.

Extracts from the interviews.


This is a government in crisis when our country is in crisis, particularly with the cost of living emergency, I think the Prime Minister and the Chancellor should resign. They broke the law. They were dishonest. And I think the trust in them that is so important in crises has gone… I was critical of them before this because a failure to help people who are really struggling with rocketing bills, they’ve not done that they’ve actually made it worse with tax rises, which are penalising cleaning the low paid. I think the government’s got an appalling record on the economy. And now they’ve broken their own laws.

Remember, during this period, millions of people making huge sacrifices, if they’d had a party, they’d have been fine, they would have broken the law. And the prime minister would have condemned them no doubt. And here was the Prime Minister and the Chancellor breaking the law and the Met Police have found that after a thorough investigation, they’ve decided that a criminal offence was committed, I don’t think you can have a prime minister, overseeing the country overseeing the laws, passing laws, which affect millions of people and, of course, huge distress, tickly to bereaved families and then getting away with it. I think he has to be held to account. I think it’s the duty of opposition parties like the Liberal Democrats to hold this government to account for the law breaking act and the disastrous economic policy

[On the police inquiry] I’m now telling [the police] and telling you that I think they did a good job. [But] let’s remember they took a long time before they investigated originally said they said they weren’t going to investigate, they had to be pushed into that investigation… They had they changed their mind four times before they got to that investigation… But I’m now prepared to give the police due credit…

They’ve reached a conclusion which is shown we have a Prime Minister who and the chancellor who broke the law… Remember, we could see more fines on the prime minister.

It looks like he’s going to try to tough it out… At this time, we have a cost of living emergency with an international crisis in Ukraine. We need proper leadership that people can trust. And don’t think anyone can trust this Prime Minister.

BBC Breakfast

I think people have lost faith in the Prime Minister. When you have a domestic crisis with the cost of living emergency, when you have the Ukraine war, everyone needs a leader that they can trust… It would actually help us deal with these crises if he went…

If he had any decency, he’s the first Prime Minister in history in the history of our great country to have been found to have broken the law. If he had decency, he would go. If he’s not prepared to go, it looks like he’s going to try to cling on. It’s the constitutional duty, it’s the patriotic duty of Conservative MPs to tell him to go. I’m really sad and disappointed that Conservative MPs don’t understand their duty to our country. And that’s why we’ll try to put pressure on from the Liberal Democrats perspective…

I am really worried about millions of families and pensions out there who are really hurting now. Who can’t decide whether they can afford to put their heating, on really going without food. This is a crisis for our country…

I went out to a border between Poland and Ukraine a few weeks ago and I spoke with an interpreter to about 20 refugees. Families, women, mothers and grandmothers with kids. They’re traumatised, they’re exhausted, and many other countries in Europe have said you don’t need visas into our country and we’ll look after you.

It’s only Boris Johnson, Priti Patel, the Conservatives that are putting paperwork in the way of helping mothers and children. I think that’s a disgrace. I think new leadership could be true to the compassion and generosity the British. People who want to help those refugees.

During the Second World War in 1940, we had Hitler and Nazi troops facing our country. We were in a crisis and it was us up against the wall. Parliament then decided they needed new leadership.

I think we should change leadership now… I think it’s wrong that he’s in that job. He’s not decent to lead our country.

It’s voters out there in a few weeks time. Many people… will have a chance to cast their vote for their council seat. I would argue elect a Liberal Democrat council. You get a strong local champion who will fight for a fair deal for your community… Many people cast their votes even in local elections as a judgement on the government, and I think there are lifelong conservatives out there who are fed up.

[In North Shropshire] we had lifelong conservatives saying to us they would never vote Conservative again, and they were actually saying that even before partygate broke.

I’ve had conversations, I’m sure every MP has, with people who lost loved ones during Covid. Who would have loved to have spent just five minutes holding their hand as they died. They were told they couldn’t, and so they accepted the rules. The Prime Minister is saying it was only 5 minutes with his mates and a birthday cake.

I’m sorry that’s not acceptable, just not acceptable, and people are angry about that. And they’re right to be angry. They weren’t able to hold the hand of their dying brother, mother, sister, husband. They sacrificed so much. Our prime minister just doesn’t get it.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary in print, on air or online.

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  • Tristan Ward 13th Apr '22 - 1:21pm

    If Johnson really didn’t know he was at a party and really didn’t know there were numerous parties at No 10, – his current defences – he is just too stupid to be Prime Minister

  • The thing that worries me about the events in Downing Street is the ignorance of their responsibilities under the Health and Safety laws. It would have taken all of five minutes at a Cabinet meeting to ask officers to check that policies were updated and staff trained.
    Staff in schools and other institutions spent huge amounts of time on these things.
    Are the policies used in government offices available?

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