Burnham-On-Sea’s MP, James Heappey, has this week strongly defended Boris Johnson as the row over lockdown parties in Downing Street continues.
In a series of TV interviews on Wednesday (January 19th), he gave his backing to the PM despite the national uproar.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said the Prime Minister “offered the most sincere of apologies” and says he has “chosen to believe the prime minister, I hope that colleagues do likewise.”
Mr Heappey added: “There are very many people out there who don’t want to give him the benefit of the doubt and that’s why it’s right that there is an investigation. We all look forward to seeing what she [senior civil servant Sue Gray] comes back with.”
“You can bounce from a national security meeting, straight into a meeting with fellow Ministers on a domestic policy issue, straight into a phone call with a foreign leader and then someone comes and grabs you from your office and takes you down to the garden. And in the 30 seconds that takes to get down the stairs you get a pre-brief on what is going on at the thing you’re going to.”
He added: “I can perfectly imagine, having worked closely with him, and in Number 10, exactly how this happened. He will have been grabbed from his office at the end of a busy day of very significant decisions around the pandemic and everything else that was going on in the world, and would have been launched into an event which he himself said at the Despatch Box (in the House of Commons), he should have shut down immediately. He has apologised for what happened.”
James Heappey’s TV appearances came amid national media reports of growing anger among Conservative MPs at the Prime Minister’s defence of a culture which allowed parties and social gatherings in Government during national Covid restrictions.
Later, on Good Morning Britain, Mr Heappey said: “I’m choosing to take the Prime Minister at his word. I’m not suggesting for a second he didn’t know the rules, I am accepting that he didn’t know the event he was about to walk into was breaking them.”