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Boris Johnson to face UK lawmakers for first time over ‘partygate’ scandal – National


Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces British lawmakers on Tuesday for the first time since he was fined by police for attending a birthday party in his office that broke coronavirus lockdown rules.

As the House of Commons returns from an 11-day break over Easter, Johnson is expected to apologize again for insisting it was a minor mistake, but pushes back on calls from the opposition to step down for flouting the restrictions he imposed on the country during the pandemic. .

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Boris Johnson fined for COVID-19 lockdown parties

The opposition Labor Party is trying to get lawmakers to censure Johnson over the ‘partygate’ scandal. Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said he would allow Labor to hold a Commons debate and vote on whether Johnson should be investigated for allegedly misled Parliament. Ministers found guilty of doing so are generally expected to resign.

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The vote is scheduled for Thursday. Before that, Johnson is expected to appear contrite, but he argues it would be wrong to change leaders as Britain faces crises including war in Ukraine and pressure on the cost of life due to soaring energy and property prices.

Johnson and his Conservative government have faced growing outrage since allegations surfaced late last year that he and his staff held office parties in 2020 and 2021, when millions of people in the country were not allowed to meet their friends and family, or even to attend the funerals of their loved ones.


Boris Johnson to face UK lawmakers for first time over ‘partygate’ scandal – National







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Johnson paid a 50-pound ($66) fine last week for attending his own surprise birthday party in Downing Street in June 2020. The penalty made Johnson the first British prime minister to break the law during its mandate.

The fine follows a police investigation and a civil service investigation into the gatherings. Johnson tried to answer questions, first saying there were no parties, then insisting he believed no rules were being broken.

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Cabinet Secretary Brandon Lewis insisted Johnson was not a liar and had always said “what he believes to be the truth”.

“What he said in Parliament he believed to be true at the time,” Lewis said.

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UK’s Boris Johnson apologizes after ‘partygate’ report on lockdown breaches

Johnson’s grip on power had seemed to be on the edge earlier this year due to the scandal and the departure of several top aides. Allies feared “partygate” could become a tipping point for a leader who weathered a series of other storms over his spending and moral judgment. Some conservative lawmakers openly called for a vote of no confidence in their leader.

But Johnson hung on as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drew public and political attention to the issue.

Johnson’s international image, battered by Britain’s disorderly exit from the European Union under his leadership, has been revived by his strong military, political and moral support for Ukraine. Johnson traveled to Kyiv earlier this month to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.


Boris Johnson to face UK lawmakers for first time over ‘partygate’ scandal – National







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Johnson could still face further fines. London’s Metropolitan Police are investigating a dozen events, including ‘bring your own booze’ office parties and ‘wine hour Fridays’, hosted by Johnson staff. So far at least 50 tickets have been distributed, including to Johnson, his wife Carrie and Treasury chief Rishi Sunak.

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If Johnson is sanctioned again, calls for a vote of no confidence could grow among Tories. For now, Tory lawmaker Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said his colleagues were “withholding judgment and waiting to see what happens.”

But fellow Conservative Tobias Ellwood, who heads the Commons Defense Committee, said the Government ‘should not use the fig leaf of our involvement with Ukraine to say one way or another that this Now is not the time to face these difficult challenges”.

He said the party should hold a vote of no confidence to determine if “the Prime Minister has support and if we are moving forward, or if it is time for a change”.

© 2022 The Canadian Press




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