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Boris Johnson‘s ever-loyal Cabinet sidekick Nadine Dorries has accused Sir Keir Starmer of exploiting the Partygate scandal and people’s heartbreaking stories of bereavement during the pandemic to overthrow the Prime Minister in a bid to ‘reverse Brexit’. 

The Tory leader is fighting for his political life as he attempts to delay a Labour-led vote on a probe into whether he knowingly lied to Parliament – a resigning matter under the Ministerial Code of Conduct – after he was fined by police over a lockdown-busting birthday party in 2020.  

In an interview with GB News, the Culture Secretary insisted that the scandal had been ‘blown out of proportion’ and called the word itself ‘quite misleading’, adding: ‘I think the tag ”Partygate” is an easy tag to put on something that is just a gimmick title.’

She also accused Sir Keir of ‘politicising’ tragic stories of heartbreak and loss during the Covid lockdowns to get rid of Mr Johnson before the next General Election and – she claimed – ultimately to drag Britain back into the European Union.

The Labour leader this week read out a letter from ‘widower John Robinson’ whose wife died in hospital yet ‘obeyed the rules while the PM partied’, and repeated his calls for Mr Johnson to resign over his ‘half-hearted’ apology over Partygate.

In a separate interview with GB News host and MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton, disgraced ex-Health Secretary Matt Hancock defended his handling of the pandemic and the Government’s draconian measures to combat the virus – including school closures. Mr Hancock was sacked last year after he was caught breaking Covid laws with his mistress aide Gina Coladangelo.

Miss Dorries told GB News: ‘I think it’s wrong to use those very raw emotions, and those experiences that have been, people have been through, to distort something that they know has happened politically in Number 10. To make those comparisons is wrong. 

‘I think the way it’s being portrayed is not right but I think it’s important to say that that the word ”Partygate” is just a misnomer. 

Nadine Dorries is pictured in an interview with GB News presenter and MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton

Nadine Dorries is pictured in an interview with GB News presenter and MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton

Nadine Dorries is pictured in an interview with GB News presenter and MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton

GB News presenter and MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton interviews Nadine Dorries over Partygate

GB News presenter and MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton interviews Nadine Dorries over Partygate

GB News presenter and MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton interviews Nadine Dorries over Partygate

Boris Johnson speaks to the media on board his flight as he flies to India for a two day visit. Wednesday April 20, 2022

Boris Johnson speaks to the media on board his flight as he flies to India for a two day visit. Wednesday April 20, 2022

Boris Johnson speaks to the media on board his flight as he flies to India for a two day visit. Wednesday April 20, 2022

Hancock plugs his upcoming book on Covid in GB News grilling 

Matt Hancock plugged his own book on his handling of Covid while he was being interviewed about the pandemic crisis

Matt Hancock plugged his own book on his handling of Covid while he was being interviewed about the pandemic crisis

Matt Hancock plugged his own book on his handling of Covid while he was being interviewed about the pandemic crisis 

Matt Hancock plugged his own book on his handling of Covid while he was being interviewed about the pandemic crisis.

The ex-Health Secretary, who broke Covid rules with his lover aide Gina Coladangelo while he ordered people to stay at home, was grilled by GB News host Dan Wootton about measures he introduced for Covid, the care home scandal and whether children had been ignored.

In a write-up, GB News then claimed that Mr Hancock had used his interview on lockdowns to ‘plug his upcoming book on the pandemic’. 

He said: ‘I’m writing a book about the experience, what it looked like from being Health Secretary and what actually happened at the time.’  

According to a synopsis of his planned political memoir, Mr Hancock claims he stopped Covid from causing ‘a tsunami of death and deprivation’ that would have destroyed the NHS.

It is one of a series of boasts attributed to the former health secretary in the book summary leaked to the Mail.

According to the synopsis of the book, provisionally titled The Race, Mr Hancock tells how he ‘led the race’ to develop a vaccine, ‘beating every major country in the world’.

But a well-placed source said Mr Hancock had little chance of securing a publishing deal because his book proposal made no mention of the affair with Miss Coladangelo, which led to his resignation in June – or the leaked photo of their kiss that ended his marriage.

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‘Number 10 is an office building with an iconic front door and it was a workplace. Parties as far as I’m concerned take place socially, this was people in their own workplace.

‘But I think the tag ”Partygate” is an easy tag to put on something that is just a gimmick title but I think, I think it’s actually quite, quite misleading.

‘I know from the Prime Minister’s perspective that walking from one meeting to another in a different room, from his office into the Cabinet room and being met with the cake that he never saw that stayed in it’s box.

‘So I was with him in Cabinet after all of this came out and he went to me; ‘There was no cake!’ he said to me he couldn’t understand why people were talking about a cake that he never saw and so people just wished him a happy birthday.

‘I think words were said about what was going on in the pandemic and then he went into the next meeting along with Rishi so I think that’s, some of this has been, kind of blown out of proportion and it’s a shame because there are people out there who went through some very tough times during the pandemic.’

She continued: ‘There are a lot of people not involved in Westminster or politics who will think ”Brexit’s done now, let’s move on” but that’s not what’s happening in Westminster.

‘There are people in Westminster including commentators, many individuals and organisations who are desperate to make sure the Prime Minister is removed before the next election.

‘They feel like this is their last desperate chance to reverse some of what’s happened with Brexit. They won’t have a vote to reverse Brexit, but it will be death of Brexit by a thousand cuts.

‘The only man who is standing in front of Brexit is Boris Johnson and if they can remove him then they know they have a very strong chance of reversing what has been done.’

In a separate interview on GB News, Mr Hancock was grilled over his handling of the virus crisis – from care homes to school closures.

Speaking of lockdown restrictions, the ex-Cabinet minister said: ‘These were weights on both sides of the scales, they were big judgements. I was always cognisant of the big decisions we were making. 

‘Understand that there were impacts on both sides and the goal was to get the right balance and the right outcome. We knew if we didn’t have the right measures in place, the impact would have been terrible.’

He also defended plans put in place before the pandemic, adding: ‘The plans that we had, the preparation was based on pandemic flu. That’s what exercises had been done.

‘Obviously at the time we had to make decisions according to the situation as we found it, a new coronavirus which was unprecedented, and the hard part of course was that we were in this fog of uncertainty in terms of lack of data.

‘There was as much of an assessment as you can make in that incredibly short amount of time. The problem wasn’t the forecasts; it was that the forecasts were coming true. That was the fundamental challenge.

‘You have to look at not only the economic costs in terms of mental health and the cost in terms of people not being able to access other types of treatment and the costs of inaction and we could see that the costs of inaction were going to be absolutely enormous.

‘In March 2020 we didn’t have the testing we needed. We didn’t have the testing regime. We didn’t have enough tests without removing tests for other people for whom they were a lifesaving matter.’

Mr Wootton asked: ‘Given that the impact of school closures on children were predicted and actually predictable, you’ve seen from the recent Ofsted report what happened, did you just decide that children should be collateral damage? Why did you shut schools?’

Mr Hancock replied: ‘Because we needed to stop the growth of the pandemic which otherwise was going to overwhelm the NHS and kill many more people.

Matt Hancock and GB News host Dan Wootton clash in a heated interview on Covid lockdowns

Matt Hancock and GB News host Dan Wootton clash in a heated interview on Covid lockdowns

Matt Hancock and GB News host Dan Wootton clash in a heated interview on Covid lockdowns

Mr Johnson is pictured sitting around a table in the Downing Street garden in May 2020 with his wife Carrie Johnson, former chief aide-turned-rival Dominic Cummings, and Principal Private Secretary 'Party Marty' Reynolds

Mr Johnson is pictured sitting around a table in the Downing Street garden in May 2020 with his wife Carrie Johnson, former chief aide-turned-rival Dominic Cummings, and Principal Private Secretary 'Party Marty' Reynolds

Mr Johnson is pictured sitting around a table in the Downing Street garden in May 2020 with his wife Carrie Johnson, former chief aide-turned-rival Dominic Cummings, and Principal Private Secretary ‘Party Marty’ Reynolds

‘We had to communicate as effectively as possible the implications of stopping this disease from spreading and killing more people.

‘We were struggling to save lives and we were working incredibly hard to do that. The scale of deaths from Covid without action would have been astronomical.

‘The total number of excess deaths for a normal year in the UK in 2020 was no higher than, and on some measures lower than, the average.’

Mr Wootton asked: ‘Do you accept at all that there was overreach on your part and that degree of human suffering was not worth it?’

Mr Hancock replied: ‘there is a need in implementation of policies for compassion, and we tried to write that in. In the first phase, often at funerals people felt that they shouldn’t go even if they’re incredibly close. We changed that.

‘There is a reason that these policies were in place and the reason is that the scale of the impact in terms of the deaths from letting Covid run without restraint, would have been worse.’

Source: Daily Mail

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