Welsh Secretary Simon Hart says he still trusts PM amid lockdown party allegations

The UK Government’s Welsh Secretary, Simon Hart, says his relationship with the Prime Minister “remains unchanged” and that he continues to trust him.

Although Simon Hart has refused to comment in detail on allegations surrounding a Downing Street drinks party during the first covid lockdown last year. 

Boris Johnson has faced criticism from opposition politicians and his own party members over a “bring your own booze” gathering in the garden at number 10 Downing Street in May 2020.

That criticism intensified when an email invitation emerged, leaked to ITV News, which was sent to more than 100 people

Speaking to reporters at his regular briefing, the Welsh Secretary said that “we have to be very careful… about how much we speculate around what is currently subject to a live investigation.”

Simon Hart said that he understood people’s anger and frustration.

“We are all completely sympathetic and completely understand…the frustration and in many cases, the hurt and the indignation and the incredulity that emerging stories like this produce.”

He predicted that the story will change quickly with the Prime Minister due to speak at Prime Minister’s Questions and a “full and frank account” by the civil servant, Sue Grey who’s investigating the allegations, and said that the time to comment would come then. 

He refused to join calls for Boris Johnson to resign although said any such decisions would have to be taken once the investigation has concluded. 

“My working relationship with him, as with the cabinet’s working relationship with him, that remains unchanged. And rightly so. You know, we operate on the basis of collective responsibility and as best as it's ever possible in politics to operate on a team basis and that has not altered in any way.”

Sue Gray will investigate whether the Prime Minister attended lockdown parties as part of her review Credit: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA

Mr Hart said based on his knowledge of the Prime Minister as a person, he continues to trust him.

“All I'm saying here is... I know the guy [and] that he is as anxious as anybody for this to be resolved. We will all have plenty of time to chew over Sue Gray’s conclusions around this thing.

“But the fact is that I think I've got to know him sufficiently well, over the last couple of years in my dealings with him, you know, whether they're formal or informal, to be able to say with with confidence, that I trust him.”

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies said he believes the inquiry must 'report the findings as soon as possible', and that the prime minister has 'vital' work to carry out including that on the booster roll out.

Andrew RT Davies said: "The inquiry by the senior civil servant, Sue Gray, must now be expedited to establish the full facts and report the findings as soon as possible.

"It’s vital the Prime Minister continues his work on the booster roll out, which has been world-leading, so we can get Britain on the road to recovery and free from restrictions.

"Here in Wales, we’ve seen first-hand what the alternative would be under a Labour administration, with crippling restrictions on the economy and society, and untold damage to our businesses, health and well-being.

"The Conservative Government must continue to lead the world in the recovery and deliver the restoration of freedoms as we learn to live with COVID."

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