Former top NI Tory: Boris Johnson party shouldn’t have happened

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A former chairman of the NI Conservatives said he will be “at the front of the queue” in calling for Boris Johnson to resign if he is found guilty of wrongdoing in relation to a drinks party at Downing Street during lockdown.

Irwin Armstrong (pictured) was chairman of the NI Conservative Party in the early 2010s and attended a garden party with David Cameron at Downing Street at that time.

“Undoubtedly a major mistake was made,” he said, in a personal capacity, of the Downing Street lockdown party that Boris Johnson apologised for on Wednesday.

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“I will not try to defend it in any shape or form. Inviting 100 people and asking them to bring their own bottle in the middle of a pandemic is not something that should ever have happened.

Irwin ArmstrongIrwin Armstrong
Irwin Armstrong

“He will be on very dangerous ground in my opinion if a report comes out which said he had been consulted about this and knew all of the details of what was going on in advance.

“That is not what he said yesterday (Wednesday) when he said that as far as he was concerned he was coming down to thank staff for all their hard work, and he construed it as a work event. But I have not seen many work events where you are invited to bring your own bottle.”

He believed all 100 invitees were staff.

In order for him to keep his position, Mr Armstrong said, the PM must be found not guilty of misleading Parliament. He is not calling for him to go until all investigations have been completed.

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”I don’t believe in lynch mobs. However, if he is found guilty of misleading the House or other things then I will be at the front of the queue saying he has to go.”

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