My boss, the Prime Minister, is not a liar, says MP Steve Barclay
- Credit: UK/Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire
NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay and Downing Street's chief of staff has denied that Boris Johnson tells lies.
"No, he doesn't," Mr Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster told Sky News.
He added: "You asked my opinion; I work very closely with him. He is focused on our response to Ukraine.
“He is focused on the huge challenge economically for families, for your viewers, in terms of the cost of energy, the cost of food, he is getting on with the job.
"He got the big calls right, including during Covid. The fastest rollout (of vaccines). Last year we had the fastest growing economy in the G7.
"He has been getting the big calls right but he accepted, in terms of some of these incidents, that there were lessons to be learned."
The MP has said he "doesn't know" if David Cameron and Theresa May would have had "Wine Time Fridays" while they were serving as prime minister.
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Asked if Mr Cameron would have overseen such events as highlighted in the Sue Gray report, Mr Barclay told Sky News: "I don't know, I was a backbench MP then."
Asked if Mrs May would have while he was her Brexit secretary, he said: "Well again, you're referring to the press office. I wasn't working in the press office. I was working at No 9 Downing Street."
Mr Barclay added he "doesn't know" if Mrs May would have been happy with such events taking place, and reinforced that Boris Johnson was "shocked" by the findings of the report, in particular the treatment of staff in the building.
Mr Barclay Boris Johnson has recognised the need for changes within No 10 and he has "made those changes".
Questioned about why there were bottles of wine and gin on tables in a workplace, said: "The Met has looked at these issues, these were very brief periods of time.
"The nature of the Prime Minister's job is to go from meeting to meeting to meeting, but at the same time he has recognised the need for changes.
“He's made those changes, and Sue Gray herself has recognised there's been significant change, with a permanent secretary, with a change of leadership team, as a result of the lessons we've learned."
Mr Barclay said there was a "difference" between Mr Johnson going to meetings and the parties being held late at night in Downing Street.
"I think there is a difference, I think people recognise the Prime Minister from meetings to meetings in the course of a working day and people who, late at night, long after he has gone, where behaviours clearly were inappropriate.
"And that's why he himself... was shocked by that and that's why he gave the apology that he did."
Mr Barclay said that he felt the prime minister could say goodbye to staff who were leaving his office as "they were already in the building".
He had "seen the commentary" on people questioning why Boris Johnson felt he could say goodbye to staff at gatherings while Britons were unable to say goodbye to dying relatives during the pandemic.
"As a constituency MP, I know for my own families in the constituency that was heart-breaking for people that weren't able to say goodbye,” he said.
"I think is probably one of the worst features of the pandemic that people didn't get that moment of being able to say goodbye."
Questioned about why the Prime Minister could say goodbye to people and others couldn't go to gravesites, he said: "Because they were already in the building. They were already working in tight-knit groups. They were already there."
Mr Barclay did admit he was "shocked" and "appalled" by the Sue Gray report and its findings when he read it on Wednesday.
He said: "We were appalled. That's why the Prime Minister apologised; it's why he went to the House of Commons.
“He said how humbled he was to read about what had happened."
Mr Barclay added the disrespect to cleaning and custodial staff had shocked him most.
"I think that was, for someone (like) me growing up in Lancashire, coming from a background that I do, I was particularly shocked to read that," he said.