What is Partygate that troubles Boris Johnson

What is Partygate that troubles Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson is on the grill. Here because. The article by Daniele Meloni

Boris Johnson on the grill. The British Prime Minister will address the House of Commons today for the usual Question Time. MPs want to know whether or not he attended the May 20, 2020 post-work drinks in Downing Street, thereby violating the lockdown regulations imposed by his own government. This is how the facts of an issue are unfolding that, potentially, could be explosive for the Tory leader.


Broadcaster ITV showed on television an email from Johnson's Principal Private Secretary, Martin Reynolds, inviting a hundred people to the Downing Street garden for a "socially distanced" drink after the May 20, 2020 business day. England was in lockdown and the Health Protection Regulations that were in force at the time prevented people from different family groups from meeting and citizens from going out except for urgent needs (shopping, going to the pharmacy and so on). An unnamed source – who many have identified as former Premier Advisor Dominic Cummings – argued that Johnson and his wife Carrie also attended the event, thus violating the law.


It is not the first case of a party during the lockdown unveiled by the British press. Just before Christmas, former Premier spokesman Allegra Stratton was forced to resign after a video showed her admission to having attended a Christmas party in 2020. The same goes for Shaun Bailey, London mayoral candidate of the Tories, who attended an event held in the party headquarters in the capital. Johnson gave the task of investigating the parties to his Cabinet Secretary, Sir Simon Case, who, however, resigned from the role after the revelation that he too had attended the drinks. He was then replaced by Sue Gray, known to all for her inflexibility in uncovering political scandals.


Pressed by the media, Johnson did not want to answer whether or not he was at the drinks. He said there is an investigation underway and the facts will be shed. The opposition accuses him of wasting time and hiding when there is nothing left to hide. Sources in the Telegraph said Gray's investigation could end with a mid-term verdict, underscoring that Downing Street is both the Premier's official residence and the workplace of dozens of people. The same argument was made on TV yesterday by colorful Tory Congressman Michael Fabricant, while a large majority in the party would like Johnson to tell the truth right away and step aside.


Johnson risks having to resign and leave Downing Street. In particular, for many, his position would be unjustifiable for having told the court last December that "no rules were violated during the lockdown". So saying he would have "misled the House", lied to the courtroom. Then there is the question of the police investigation. Scotland Yard has not yet intervened in the case and before Christmas the leaders of the British police announced that there was nothing to investigate. Now, however, things – and the evidence – seem to have changed and the Metropolitan Police cannot ignore it and risk alienating the relationship with the population for not having pursued the case with sufficient accuracy. In fact, last night, the Met announced that it was in contact with the Cabinet Office – the Government Office – to verify the events of May 20, 2020 and any violations of the law.


Many Tories are now convinced that Johnson is fried and that the problem of the collapse in the polls and the disastrous North Shropshire supplement before Christmas is attributable to him and not to the party. An MP confidentially told Christopher Hope, chief of the Telegraph politician: "If the fish stinks from the head, just cut off the head and the fish will live on." It is not really like that, but of the future, you know, there is no certainty. Much less than that of Boris Johnson.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/mondo/boris-johnson-partygate/ on Wed, 12 Jan 2022 10:09:57 +0000.