“Partygate”: Boris Johnson needs an explanation

Johnson’s hope of finally getting rid of the affair, which caused his popularity ratings to crash at the end of the year, in 2022 is gone. The anger within the Conservative Party for him had just died down. Now a cabinet minister has told The Guardian newspaper: “This is the worst embarrassment the Prime Minister has ever faced as a result of these stabbings. There is no explanation. There is no way to distance yourself.” Broadcaster Sky News quoted a government official that the event was not defensible.

Labor accuses Johnson of lying

The opposition accuses Johnson of cheating. “Stop lying to the British public,” Labor leader Keir Starmer tweeted. His colleague Ed Miliband asked rhetorically on Sky News, referring to Johnson: “How can you get people to follow the government’s health advice when you have so brazenly broken the rules?”

Even from within his own ranks, sharp tones emerged: If he misled Parliament, he would have to resign, said the head of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross, a “Mirror” reporter.

As of May 2020, strict coronavirus regulations were in place. Family members could only follow the funerals of their loved ones online. The police warned the runners by megaphone to observe the rules of distance of two meters from other people. Schools, many stores and restaurants were closed. 55 minutes before the alleged garden party was to start, Downing Street cabinet member Oliver Dowden called on people to abide by the rules.

“Back then, everyone knew it was wrong to go to a party,” Hannah Brady, from an organization representing coronavirus victims, told the BBC. “How could those who run the country think it was okay?” Her father died four days before the celebration. In September, Johnson told her in the Downing Street garden, where the festival is said to have taken place, that he had gone to great lengths to protect her father from him. “It makes me sick to think about it,” Brady said. In a YouGov poll conducted by the broadcaster on Tuesday, more than half of nearly 6,000 Britons surveyed (56 percent) said Johnson should step down as prime minister.

London police said they would investigate the reports. The authority has not responded to earlier reports of alleged Downing Street celebrations. Meanwhile, more than 2,000 people have been prosecuted in the Westminster Judicial District alone for failing to comply with lockdown or quarantine rules or for attending parties.

Cautious government response

Still no real response from the government. The fact that Johnson has sent a lower-ranking minister in the form of Paymaster General Michael Ellis to defend him against heavy Labor attacks is seen as an affront. Ellis showed understanding for the outrage. However, he repeatedly referred to an ongoing internal investigation that the prime minister had already commissioned after the Christmas party reports.

The London politician is now anxiously awaiting the outcome, but things are looking bad for Johnson. For the member of the Government, quoted anonymously in the “Guardian”, he is clear: “His only salvation from him would be that the public no longer cared.”

Regina Anderson

"Extreme gamer. Food geek. Internet buff. Alcohol expert. Passionate music specialist. Beeraholic. Incurable coffee fan."

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