Scandals are piling up for Boris Johnson. After a new controversy over an evening in Downing Street in full confinement, for which the British Prime Minister has apologized, the newspaper The Telegraph reveals another party on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral.
Boris Johnson will he emerge unscathed from this « partygate »? Targeted by calls for resignation within his majority, the Prime Minister is fighting to remain at the head of the British government after his mea culpa for his presence at a party in Downing Street in full confinement in 2020.
The situation was further complicated Thursday, January 13, after revelations from the Telegraph of another party in Downing Street, still in full lockdown, but this time on the eve of the funeral of Prince Philip, the queen’s husband. Elizabeth, as the country mourned nationally.
Already overwhelmed by a string of other scandals, the 57-year-old Conservative leader apologized to Parliament on Wednesday for attending a party on May 20, 2020 in the gardens of his official residence, saying he then thought he was was about a business meeting.
The event, for which an invitation had been sent by his secretary to around 100 people with the suggestion to bring their bottles, took place during 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 Britons were unable to say goodbye to their dying loved ones.
Immediately, the opposition parties, led by Labor who accused him of lying, demanded his resignation, while members of his government overwhelmingly supported him, on Twitter or in the media.
The subject is not, however, unanimous in the ranks of the Conservatives, who until recently praised Boris Johnson’s ability to seduce, with his promise to achieve Brexit, the working classes of the north of England, formerly acquired by Labor. .
The very timid support given to him by a heavyweight in the executive, the Minister of Finance Rishi Sunak, perceived as a potential candidate for the post of Prime Minister, was widely commented on.
Traveling in Devon, south-west England, as the head of government faced the wrath of MPs, Rishi Sunak took eight hours to line up behind him, via a tweet in which he insisted on his own commitment to employment in the UK.
« The Prime Minister has done well to apologize and I support his request to be patient » while awaiting the results of the internal investigation led by senior official Sue Gray, he said soberly.
Expected at best next week, the conclusions of this internal investigation are now shaping up to be decisive for the fate of Boris Johnson.
Towards a vote of no confidence?
Mocked for the line they are following of not investigating a post facto violation of anti-Covid rules, London police announced Thursday evening that they would reconsider their way of seeing things if the internal investigation brought to light. evidence of potential criminal offenses.
Sign of the cracks which crack the unity of the party in power, the revolt also rumbles among the Scottish Conservatives, who consider his position untenable, and Tory MPs in Westminster.
Like Roger Gale, for whom Boris Johnson is an « living dead », some elected officials have openly said they are in favor of a vote of no confidence within the Conservative Party in order to push him towards the exit.
« The position of the Prime Minister is untenable and I think we should not let the conclusions of a civil servant determine his future, » agreed another member, William Wragg, the vice-chairman of the powerful 1922 Committee, responsible for the parliamentary organization of training. « It is up to the Conservative Party, if not the Prime Minister himself, to make this decision, » he added on the BBC.
The scandal comes on top of other revelations about parties held in power circles during the lockdowns of the past two years, as well as accusations of corruption and favoritism.
Boris Johnson, who came to power triumphantly in July 2019, has since seen his long-standing popularity tumble in the polls. One, made by YouGov for The Times before his apology, gives Labor a large ten-point lead, a first in nearly a decade.
On Thursday, the head of government escaped the cameras and questions from the media: contact case, he canceled a planned visit to a vaccination center