Cornered by a series of revelations in the press, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted this Wednesday before the deputies to have been present at a party organized in May 2020 in Downing Street, in full confinement. The opposition is asking for his resignation.
A party organized in the middle of the first wave
Since mid-December, Boris Johnson has been accused by various media including the Guardian of having participated in a party in Downing Street in May 2020, when the country was hit hard by the first wave of the epidemic.
Monday, the ITV channel revealed the existence of an email sent to a hundred people by the Chief Secretary to the Prime Minister, Martin Reynolds, on May 20, 2020. “Bring your bottles”, launched the invitation which called for “Take advantage of the good weather” during a drink “with social distancing” in the gardens of the Prime Minister’s residence.
Thirty or forty people had responded to the invitation, according to the press, including Boris Johnson and his fiancee. An internal investigation, entrusted to senior official Sue Gray, is underway.
Insufficient excuses for the opposition
In an overheated House of Commons, the head of the conservative government argued on Wednesday that he believed that the event of May 20, 2020 was a working meeting.
Boris Johnson admits he was at the May 20 gathering and explains he believed it was a work event. Watch Boris Johnson’s full statement at PMQshttps: //t.co/wpfKVVMGgR pic.twitter.com/XxHpQezG2M
– ITV News (@itvnews) January 12, 2022
Boris Johnson explained that he should have considered that if the event was “technically” legal, the perception of the British, prevented from meeting their relatives, could be quite different. “I apologize from the bottom of my heart,” he said.
Accusing Boris Johnson of “lying like a tooth puller”, Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer has deemed the Prime Minister’s defense “so ridiculous” that it is “insulting” to the British. He is asking for his resignation, as are the Scottish separatists of the SNP and the Liberal Democrats.
Boris Johnson in disgrace
Two years after his electoral victory, Boris Johnson has seen his popularity, long stainless, drop in recent months. Already challenged by the defeat of the Conservatives in their historic stronghold of North Shropshire and the resignation of Brexit Minister David Frost, the head of government is now faced with what the press is dubbing the “Partygate”.
His reputation was also tarnished by suspicion of lying about the financing of the luxurious renovation of his official apartment, the awarding of contracts between friends during the pandemic or even accusations of favoritism.
In disgrace within the Conservative Party, Boris Johnson could be overthrown by a vote of no confidence, requiring 54 letters from “Tory” MPs to be triggered. The option is no longer a taboo in the conservative camp, reluctant to bother with leaders in turmoil and who could prefer the Minister of Finance Rishi Sunak or the head of diplomacy Liz Truss.