The “partygate” has the UK on edge as Prime Minister Boris Johnson awaits the results of Sue Gray’s investigation into parties his employees held during Covid-19 lockdowns.
The report, which is due to arrive at some point on Thursday, is expected to seal the fate of the PM. Politics lecturer Richard Johnson said that the report is expected to dictate the actions of the parliament:
“The report matters because if it has negative ramifications in the public arena that will put pressure on MPs [to remove Johnson],” he said. “Simple majority of conservative MPs can remove the prime minister in a vote of no confidence in his leadership, and that’s really, they are the gatekeepers of Boris Johnson’s leadership.”
The lecturer, who works at Queen Mary University of London, explained that Johnson has been using the anticipation for the report’s decision to make his case:
“Ultimately, Boris Johnson’s trying to make the pitch that ‘you might not like what I did, maybe I regret what I did, but I’m carrying the program forward, and I’m the one to do it.’ Whether he’s credible on that claim and whether those claims are robust claims s a different matter. But that’s the pitch,” he said to CNN.
Boris Johnson criticized for parties held on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral
Johnson’s office held farewell parties for two staff members on April 16, 2021 – the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.
Jamie Davies, a spokesman for the PM, said that Johnson and his team are aware that the parties have generated “significant public anger.”
“It’s deeply regrettable that this took palace at a time of national mourning and No. 10 has apologized to the palace,” he said, referring to Johnson’s 10 Downing Street office.
Johnson’s team claims that Johnson himself wasn’t in attendance on April 16, and did not even know that such parties were being held. Despite this, the news of these gatherings has been a significant blow to Johnson’s standing in the British government.
Johnson made an apology earlier this week for attending a Downing St. party in May 2020, a period in which the U.K. had enforced lockdown measurements.
Although Johnson and his team are attempting to move on from the scandal, many prominent members of Britain’s Tory party are calling for him to resign.
The combination of lockdown-defying hubris and apparent disrespect for the Royal Family’s grief has created the perfect storm for the opponents of the PM. A spokesman for Johnson said it was “deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning.”
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and consort of the Queen of England Elizabeth II, passed away on the morning of April 9, 2021, at the age of 99 at Windsor Castle.
Prince Philip’s marriage to Queen Elizabeth, which lasted 74 years, was the longest marriage of any British royals in history.