Prime Minister Boris Johnson was given a fixed-penalty notice by the Metropolitan Police for eating a “slice of cake between meetings”, a minister said this morning.
Simon Clarke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I do have confidence (in Boris Johnson) because the Prime Minister has apologised and I know very sincerely regrets what happened.
“It is important to contextualise. He had a fine for eating a slice of cake between meetings.”Simon Clarke
Clarke said there were “extraordinary pressures being applied” to No 10 during the Covid pandemic, with people “working on questions of literally life and death” and operating under “exhausting strain”.
Clarke condemned briefed reports that senior civil servant Sue Gray is “playing politics” in the handling of the publication of her report into lockdown parties in Downing Street.
Mr Clarke told Sky News: “I would (condemn it).
“I think the one thing I would say about Sue Gray, and I have never met her but I have heard a great deal about her, is that by repute she is one of the most fiercely independent and professional civil servants in the whole of Government and brings a vast range of experience to bear, so I don’t think there is any politics.”
He added: “In no way do I think there is anything other than a practical dimension to the question of when it comes out, now that the police have concluded their investigation.”
Asked who instigated the meeting between the Prime Minister and Ms Gray, the Treasury minister said: “It is my understanding that the meeting was instigated by Ms Gray.”
He continued: “There are lots of practical questions here that need to be bottomed out in terms of, for example, who can be named in this report and the extent to which photographic evidence can be included. It is important that those practical dimensions are resolved.”