British Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologized “unreservedly” to parliament on Tuesday after being fined for breaching anti-Covid restrictions.
Boris Johnson claimed it “did not occur to him then or subsequently” that his attendance at a brief birthday rally in June 2020 in Downing Street “might constitute a breach of rules” then in force. “It was my mistake and I apologize unreservedly.”
Boris Johnson is Britain’s first incumbent head of government to be punished for breaking the law and faces further fines as part of the investigation into ‘partygate’, the name of the party scandal in government circles. power during the confinements put in place against the pandemic.
The Tory leader was addressing MPs for the first time since he had to pay a £50 (€60) fine a week ago for taking part in this surprise birthday party for his 56th birthday on June 19, 2020 An event of “less than 10 minutes”, according to him, which also earned his wife Carrie and his finance minister Rishi Sunak to be sanctioned. “I respect the conclusions of the police investigation, which is still ongoing,” added the Prime Minister. He did, however, try to play down the significance of the scandal that infuriates the British on Tuesday by skipping after a few minutes about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The opposition again calls for his resignation
A time on an ejection seat, “BoJo” found a second wind by highlighting its role in the front line of Western sanctions against Russia after the invasion of Ukraine. Many MPs who had asked for his departure now consider it inappropriate to chase him from Downing Street in this context.
Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer, however, said on Tuesday that the Conservative leader was “dishonest and unable to change”. Boris Johnson is “a man without shame”, he claimed, urging the Tories to get rid of their leader to restore “decency, honesty and integrity” to British politics. The head of government also came under harsh criticism from within his own camp, with Conservative MP Mark Harper saying he was no longer “worthy” of being Prime Minister.
The soap opera seems far from over. London police, who have already handed out 50 fines, are continuing their investigations and British MPs will debate on Thursday whether Boris Johnson knowingly misled Parliament – synonymous with resignation according to the ministerial code of conduct – by repeating that all the rules had been respected.
The Prime Minister will also have to deal, on a date still unknown, with the conclusions of the senior civil servant Sue Gray, who has already crushed in a pre-report “errors of leadership and judgment”. He must also face the verdict of the polls in local elections on May 5.
72% of Britons see him as a ‘liar’
According to the press, the conservative leader risks new fines, for his presence at at least five other festive events presented as more embarrassing for him. Downing Street was keen to deny it after new details emerged in The Sunday Times, which described him serving drinks and making a speech for the departure of its communications chief on November 13, 2020.
According to a study published on Monday, 72% of those polled have a negative assessment of the Prime Minister, the term recurring most often being that of “liar”. “The fury has not receded,” tweeted pollster James Johnson, who conducted the study. “A lot of the negative comments are from people who previously liked it, but have changed their minds.”