PM refuses to say whether he will resign if found to have broken lockdown laws

By Kathryn Snowdon
BBC News

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Boris Johnson is asked whether he'll resign if police find he broke the law over No 10 parties

Boris Johnson has refused to say whether he will resign if police found he has broken lockdown laws.

Asked in a BBC interview whether he would resign if police decide to take action, the PM said: "I can't comment about a process that is under way."

More than 50 people have been sent the document by the force.

Downing Street has not revealed what Mr Johnson said in his written response to the police, only that it was sent to them within the seven-day deadline before he travelled to Munich this weekend.

But Mr Johnson was pressed several times on the subject by Sophie Raworth in an interview for BBC One's Sunday Morning Programme. She asked whether he understood why so many people found his on-the-record explanations - including that he believed he was only attending work events - "implausible".

Mr Johnson said: "There is literally not a bean I can tell you about that."

He was asked if he was "burying" his "head in the sand" as he was being investigated by the police, had MPs calling on him to resign and might face a no-confidence vote.

Mr Johnson replied: "I am fortunate to live in a democracy. I am fortunate to be the PM of a free independent democratic country where people can take that sort of decision, and where I do face that sort of pressure, that's a wonderful thing."

The police investigation was launched in late January after an internal inquiry led by civil servant Sue Gray passed information to the force.

The initial findings of Ms Gray's inquiry criticised "failures of leadership and judgement" over the gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall.

The police investigation, Operation Hillman, is examining 12 gatherings on eight dates - some of which the PM has already said he attended - to see if Covid regulations were broken.

The Met has said a fine would be issued to anyone found to have breached Covid regulations. A decision is not expected for weeks.

The questionnaire that was sent to Mr Johnson and scores of others requires an "account and explanation of the recipient's participation in an event", the Met has previously said.

The survey, sent by email, has the same status as information given in an interview under caution.

The Met said previously that it "must be answered truthfully".

'Do the right thing'

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP have all called for Mr Johnson to resign, as have some of his own Conservative MPs.

But Foreign Office minister James Cleverly told Sky News: "I don't think what the country needs now is a vacuum at the centre of government."

Asked if that meant he though the prime minister should not quit if fined over Downing Street parties, he replied: "That's exactly how you should take it."

But Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: "If he won't resign, Conservative MPs must do the right thing and sack him.

"For a sitting prime minister to be found guilty of breaking the law would be unprecedented and put to bed once and for all the Conservative Party's claim to be the party of law and order."

Separately, Mr Johnson refused to say in the BBC interview whether any public money will be used to fund the Prince Andrew financial settlement with Virginia Giuffre.

Mr Johnson said: "No prime minister ever answers questions about the Royal Family and quite right too."