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Partygate: Conservatives accused of 'shameful attempt' to use Ukraine crisis to deflect PM criticism

Boris Johnson and Volodymyr Zelensky met in Ukraine

Partygate: Conservatives accused of 'shameful attempt' to use Ukraine crisis to deflect PM criticism

War cited as reason to keep the PM in place

The Conservatives have been accused of hiding behind the war in Ukraine in a "shameful attempt" to protect Boris Johnson.

There is furious reaction today to the news that the Prime Minister and Chancellor have both been issued fixed penalty notices following a Met Police investigation into lockdown-busting parties on the government estate.

Johnson's wife Carrie has also been fined for breaching the strict Covid controls set down by the UK Government.

When allegations of such breaches first arose, they were denied by the government, but pressure eventually led to an attempt by rebel Tories to remove the Prime Minister.

Now the party is accused of using the war in Ukraine as a "shield" to deflect criticism.

Johnson has not commented on his law breach, but his official Twitter account shares a picture of himself with Ukraine's President Volodmyr Zelensky, taken in a visit last week. Referring to US President Joe Biden, it states that the "joint focus remains" on Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, who previously withdrew a letter of no-confidence in the PM in light of that war, has doubled down on that statement.

The Conservatives are now accused of using that conflict for their own purposes.

Anna Soubry, a former Tory minister, is amongst those to comment, resharing the PM's tweet and asking: "When was Johnson or any member of his team told he would be receiving a FPN for breaking the law? Before or after he arranged his trip to Ukraine?"

Stewart McDonald MP, the SNP's Westminster defence spokesperson, said: "The PM has indeed been a strong ally of Ukraine - I have given him credit for it - but that does not entitle him or his party to use Russian war crimes and the victims of them as a shield for his own lying and lawbreaking. The mere suggestion that he might is a new low."

On Sky News, Tory MP Michael Fabricant said Johnson deserves to stay in post for delivering Brexit and supporting Ukraine.

Labour's Chris Bryant said the crisis was a reason for a new leader, not a discredited one, and deputy Scottish Labour leader Jackie Baillie said: "No one is above the law and it is simply unacceptable to use the human tragedy in Ukraine to shield the Prime Minister."

Baillie was referring directly to Ross's defence of Johnson. 

He said Johnson's removal "would destabilise the UK Government when we need to be united in the face of Russian aggression and the murdering of innocent Ukrainians".

Baillie commented: "This is a shameful attempt by Douglas Ross to hide his lack of principle behind the ongoing tragedy in Ukraine. 

"That Douglas Ross does not have the spine to condemn Boris Johnson's actions and demand his removal from office is simply shocking."

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