UNITED KINGDOM – Boris Johnson conceded it this Wednesday January 12 in front of the British Parliament. The Tory Prime Minister did participate in a rally in Downing Street Gardens in full lockdown, although he “implicitly” believed it was a working meeting and the event followed health rules at the time. in force, assuming “responsibility” for “errors” that have been made.
This admission comes two days after the revelations of the British press. This reveals that on May 20, 2020, Boris Johnson’s chief private secretary, Martin Reynolds, would have sent an email to a hundred people, inviting them “after an incredibly busy period” to “take advantage of the good weather” during of a “social distancing” pot in Downing Street Gardens. According to some British media, the head of government was accompanied by his wife Carrie, as well as about thirty other guests.
Enough to provoke the ire of the British: the same day, the Minister of Culture Oliver Dowden reminded the English population of the strict rules in force: “You can meet a person outside your home in a public place, outside, on condition that you stay two meters apart. ”
Calls for resignation
After Boris Johnson’s apology, Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer called for his resignation. “His defense of saying he didn’t know he was at a party is so ridiculous it’s actually insulting to the British public,” Keir Starmer said during the Commons sitting. “Will he now have the decency to resign?” He added, accusing the conservative leader of “lying like a tooth puller”.
Calls for resignation have even come from his own camp. Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said he was “furious” and asked Boris Johnson to step down if the facts were true. In case of refusal, he has even already mentioned an impeachment by a vote of no confidence within the party, requiring 54 letters to be triggered.
“The question is simple”, had also underlined on the BBC the number two of the Labor opposition Angela Rayner. If Boris Johnson “lied to the British, lied to Parliament and attended parties during the lockdown”, “he has to go”.
“The question is not whether the Prime Minister will leave, but when”, would also have tackled the Minister of Finance Rishi Sunak according to a deputy interviewed by the Guardian. Rishi Sunak would also already have the favors of the party to take over from Boris Johnson, just like the Minister of Foreign Affairs Liz Truss.
From the point of view of public opinion, according to polls published Tuesday, January 11, a majority of 56% to 66% of Britons believe that Boris Johnson should resign, a proportion which has risen sharply in a few weeks.
It must be said that Boris Johnson is already at the heart of several scandals relating to parties organized during periods when gatherings were limited because of the Covid-19 pandemic. An internal investigation is already looking into events that would have been organized in May, November and December 2020 in the circles of power: wine and cheese in the sun, departure drink or virtual quiz … The first conclusions of this investigation conducted by the Senior Official Sue Gray is not expected until the end of next week, according to the Times.
The partygate, as the affair has come to be called, is not the only quagmire the head of government is stuck in, however. His former right-hand man, Dominic Cummings, accused him last spring of wanting to have the luxurious work of his official apartment financed illegally, by private donors, at an amount far greater than the annual allowance paid to him to maintain 10 Downing Street. Boris Johnson denied and was cleared but the affair tarnished his image.
There is also a dark story of cocaine found in the toilets of Westminster, the British Parliament. Most of the “washrooms” (toilets or bathrooms) where traces were found required a parliamentary pass, and one of its places would be near the Prime Minister’s office … who had just unveiled a great anti-drug plan.
See also on The HuffPost: For Christmas, Boris Johnson encourages vaccination by evoking Jesus