Jacob Rees-Mogg claims Ukraine war shows 'partygate' was 'trivial fluff'

Mr Rees-Mogg said the current crisis over Ukraine showed that 'partygate' was not a fundamentally serious issue

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Brexit Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has dismissed the row over lockdown parties in Downing Street as trivial “fluff”.

Boris Johnson was facing calls to resign earlier this year over his attendance at a series of events being investigated by police for alleged breaches of Covid regulations.

But speaking at the Conservative Spring Forum in Blackpool, Mr Rees-Mogg said the current crisis over Ukraine showed that “partygate” was not a fundamentally serious issue.

“It is a reminder that the world is serious, that there are serious things to be discussed and serious decisons for politicians to take,” he said.

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees Mogg in Downing Street, London, ahead of a Cabinet meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees Mogg in Downing Street, London, ahead of a Cabinet meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

“Whether this is about re-opening and having new licences for oil wells in the North Sea, or whether it is about getting away from the ‘wokery’ that has beset huge sections of society, nobody now cares whether using the word ‘grip’ is going to offend people.

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg arrives in Downing Street, London, ahead of the government's weekly Cabinet meeting. Picture date: Tuesday December 7, 2021.
Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg arrives in Downing Street, London, ahead of the government's weekly Cabinet meeting. Picture date: Tuesday December 7, 2021.

“All that nonsense is shown for the trival nature of it …. I’d say the same of ‘partygate’, all of that is shown up for the disproportionate fluff of politics that it was rather than something of fundamental seriousness about the safety of the world and the established global order.”

One of the ways the government is trying to help out in Ukraine is the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The nation’s ambassador to the UK said they are “humbled” by the more than 150,000 Britons who have expressed interest in housing refugees fleeing Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

Vadym Prystaiko said it has been a “bumpy ride” getting the Government to set up visa-free travel but welcomed the Homes for Ukraine scheme as it opened for refugee applications.

In an interview with the PA news agency, he said: “We’re in an initial stage of this work but I’m very grateful that the UK Government and citizens are opening up their hearts and sometimes homes offering Ukrainians to stay here.

“I’m humbled by the sheer number of people who are opening up, sometimes just saying I have a spare room, it’s not even a spare house, or flat, it’s just a spare room. This is something that’s very unusual.”

He said that in his discussions with ministers, he broadly estimates that between 100,000 and 200,000 Ukrainians will want to temporarily seek refuge in the UK.