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UK PM Boris Johnson apologizes over anger at lockdown drinks party

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks while speaking during the Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons in London.

House of Commons – PA Images | PA photos | Getty Images

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologized on Wednesday after admitting he attended a “bring your own drink” Downing Street garden party in May 2020, saying he thought it was a business occasion at the time.

Johnson told lawmakers in the House of Commons he wanted to apologize for his actions and said he knew there were people out there who were angry with him and his government over the so-called ‘Party Gateway’ scandal.

“There were things we simply didn’t get done and I have to take responsibility,” Johnson said.

The Prime Minister first admitted that he attended the Downing Street park party on May 20, 2020, claiming that he believed the gathering was a work event at the time. He added that in hindsight he should have brought everyone back inside.

Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition Labor Party, accused Johnson of “months of deceit and deceit” and led calls to urge the prime minister to “do the right thing and resign”.

Starmer also described Johnson’s defense that he did not realize the event was a party as “offensive to the British public”.

In response to numerous calls to resign, Johnson said he did not believe he should pre-empt the outcome of an internal investigation led by senior government official Sue Gray.

Details of the party first emerged on Monday, when British broadcaster ITV appeared published A leaked email from Johnson’s chief private secretary, Martin Reynolds. The revelations of the surprise bombs triggered a massive public backlash and destabilized the Johnson Cabinet once again.

The email called on more than 100 Downing Street employees to “make the most of this lovely weather and have some social drinks in Garden Number 10” from 6pm on May 20, 2020. The letter was sent at a time when lockdown rules in England banned large gatherings in the fresh air.

Reynolds signed the email by inviting employees to “Bring your own liquor!”

Less than an hour before the Downing Street garden party was scheduled, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden gave a daily press conference on Covid to remind the public that they should only meet in pairs outdoors.

Sky News reported that the Prime Minister and Carrie Johnson were seen with about 40 staff in Downing Street Park on May 20. Johnson’s spokesman declined to comment on details.

It follows a string of other allegations regarding rule-breaking parties in Downing Street by Johnson and his officials and a host of other separate scandals, including the government’s award of lucrative Covid contracts and the renovation of Johnson’s apartment in Downing Street.

Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner suggested that if Johnson had been in the party, and had lied about it, his position was “untenable”. Rainer also called on the Metropolitan Police to investigate the allegations. The Met said it is in talks with the Cabinet Office.

Some members of Parliament within the ruling Conservative Party have called on Johnson to resign if he is found to have violated strict laws introduced by his government to control the spread of Covid.

Beginning of the end for Johnson?

“It is important to note that this is not the only source of disappointment within the Conservative Party about Boris Johnson’s leadership,” Matthew Goodwin, a professor of politics at the University of Kent, told CNBC’s Europe Signals on Wednesday.

Goodwin cited dissatisfaction among Conservative MPs over what they see as a failure to get the most out of Brexit, concern about a move to raise taxes and a lack of strategy when it comes to “compromise” – Johnson’s political mantra often used in reference to His attempt to improve infrastructure in northern England.

Moreover, the global rise in wholesale gas prices and high inflation are issues that add to the pressure on the Johnson government.

“It’s not necessarily the end, but it’s starting to feel like the beginning of the end for Boris Johnson,” Goodwin said.

“There has always been a question mark around Boris Johnson as prime minister about whether he really first had a vision for his prime minister but second [whether he] He has the leadership caliber required to be a prime minister. If these two things collide, he could resign within weeks.”

“This, of course, will put British politics back into the chaos we just used to think we left behind.”

Screenshot of Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden during a Covid media conference in Downing Street, London, on May 20, 2020.

Palestinian Authority video – Palestinian Authority photos | PA photos | Getty Images

Not everyone was convinced that the latest revelations likely meant Johnson’s days in office were numbered.

Mojtaba Rahman, managing director of Eurasia Group, said that while Partigate had put Johnson under great pressure and increased the likelihood of him being replaced in the second half of the year, the prime minister was still likely to recover and recover. Until 2022.

“The repercussions of this latest scandal will linger for some time, and the survival of the report in the various parties that held in 10th place will remain Johnson’s priority for the time being,” Abdul Rahman said.

“But Johnson’s greatest fortune remains his uncanny ability to recover. Even his critics admit that the Parliamentary Party must be confident before they fire a great figure who has shown time and time again that when it comes to elections, he delivers.” added.

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