Home International “Partygate”: Boris Johnson apologizes without convincing the opposition

“Partygate”: Boris Johnson apologizes without convincing the opposition

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Cornered, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged Wednesday before the deputies his presence at a party in Downing Street in full confinement in 2020 and presented his “apologies”, without convincing the opposition which demands his resignation.

Cornered, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged Wednesday before the deputies his presence at a party in Downing Street in full confinement in 2020 and presented his “apologies”, without convincing the opposition which demands his resignation. In the hot seat after a series of damning scandals, this 57-year-old Conservative with long-lasting popularity has had his toughest weekly questioning session in Parliament since his triumphant arrival in power in July 2019, as a savior of a Brexit in the ‘dead end.

The event in question, on May 20, 2020 in the gardens of his official residence, took place at a traumatic time for the British. In the midst of the first wave of Covid-19, only two people were allowed to meet outside and many of them were unable to say goodbye to their dying loved ones. In an overheated House of Commons, Boris Johnson maintained that he then considered that the evening, where a hundred people would have been invited with instructions to bring drinks, was a working meeting.

He admitted that he should have concluded that while the event could “technically” be considered within the rules, the perception of “millions” of Britons could be quite different. “I apologize from the bottom of my heart,” he said. Boris Johnson claimed to take “responsibility” for the “mistakes” that were made, explaining in a carefully considered intervention that he made a 25-minute appearance in the garden that evening, which he described as an “office extension” then “constantly” used given the virtues of the great outdoors against the virus.

Towards a vote of no confidence?

Accusing the Prime Minister of lies, Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer called his defense “so ridiculous” that it is “insulting” to his compatriots. The “only question” is, according to the Labor leader, whether the British or his party will “kick him out”. Or will he now have the “decency to resign?” he launched. Boris Johnson no longer seems to be safe from a vote of no confidence within his party, some figures of which no longer hesitate to openly express their exasperation at the accumulation of missteps. Unlikely in the immediate future, this option is however no longer taboo among the conservatives, among whom the names of finance ministers Rishi Sunak or foreign affairs minister Liz Truss are circulating.

Scottish independence SNP and Liberal Democrats have also called for his departure. Boris Johnson, for his part, referred to the internal investigation carried out by senior civil servant Sue Gray, the conclusions of which now promise to be decisive on his fate.

“Unable to tell the truth”

Faced with a series of revelations at the end of last year about parties organized in circles of power in defiance of health rules to fight against the coronavirus in 2020, Boris Johnson saw the accusations tighten. The ITV television channel revealed on Monday evening the existence of an email sent to around 100 people by the Chief Secretary to the Prime Minister, Martin Reynolds, on May 20, 2020. “Bring your bottles”, launched the invitation which called for “enjoying the good weather” during a drink “with social distancing” in the gardens of the residence of the head of government.

Thirty or forty people had responded to the invitation, according to the press, including Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie whom he married shortly after. But, assures Downing Street, he had not read this email leaving little ambiguity on the festive nature of the event. On Twitter, the association of relatives of Covid victims Bereaved Families for Justice accused the Prime Minister of taking the British “for fools by pretending he did not know it was a party”, “he is unable to tell the truth and must leave”.

In addition to the holidays, Boris Johnson found himself weakened by suspicions of lies about the financing of the luxurious renovation of his company apartment, the awarding of contracts between friends during the pandemic or even favoritism.

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