Downing Street: New photos show Boris Johnson, drink in hand, at a party during lockdown | International
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The English name of the strategy is character assassination. Namely, character assassination. It is a political weapon with which the credibility and reputation of the rival is undermined. And at this point, Boris Johnson no longer knows where the blows come from, although he miraculously remains on his feet. With the number two of the UK’s senior civil service body, Sue Gray, publishing her final report on parties banned in Downing Street during lockdown, a new set of photos shows Johnson, glass in hand, in cheerful camaraderie with his team, while the rest of the country was locked up in their homes. It was the farewell party for his then Director of Communications, Lee Cain. Next to the prime minister, who seems to be giving a brief speech to those present, there is a table on which two bottles of champagne or cava rest – it is not possible to specify -, four bottles of wine and a half-empty bottle of gin, along with biscuits. salty, chips and paper cups. It was November 2020, and the UK lockdown was at its most severe.
A Downing Street spokesman has assured that the photos have been part of the investigation carried out by Scotland Yard. Police fined Johnson for his participation in a surprise party thrown by his wife, Carrie, to celebrate the prime minister’s birthday. He did not receive any sanction, however, for the meeting whose images have been exclusively revealed on Monday by the ITV network.
The Labor opposition, and the Scottish National Party (SNP), the third formation in number of deputies, have again called for Johnson’s resignation for having lied to Parliament on several occasions, when he denied that they had breached social distancing rules in Downing Street. “According to the prime minister, he was not aware of five bottles of wine (sic) and one half empty of alcohol. He has broken the rules, brought his position into disrepute and taken us all for fools. He should do the right thing and resign,” wrote on Twitter David Lammy, Foreign Labor spokesman. “It is a real disgrace that the Conservatives are keeping him in Downing Street. He degrades the position he occupies. The time has come for them to do the only decent thing and get rid of him. This charlatan should already be a former prime minister,” said Ian Blackford, the SNP’s spokesman in the House of Commons.
But the most devastating criticism has come from within the ranks of the Conservative Party. Steve Baker, the MP who built the network of parliamentary support necessary to topple Theresa May and elevate Johnson, long ago lost faith in the politician who helped push Brexit forward. He has already asked for his resignation in parliament. This Tuesday, he limited himself to upload to your twitter account one of the posters put out by the UK National Health Service during the pandemic. A close-up of a woman with desperate eyes, clutching her oxygen mask. “Look into his eyes. And tell him you’ve never broken the rules. Lorna. Covid-19 patient ″.
Johnson’s team is confident that the internal rebellion that raged during the early days of the partygate has been suffocated. Conservative deputies, Downing Street intuits, have no appetite for internal war, in the midst of the crisis in Ukraine and with the serious problem of rising inflation and the cost of living. But a new surge of unrest among voters is enough to stir the sensibilities of some politicians whose support for Johnson is conditional on his ability to win them elections. And the recent municipal elections had very disappointing results.
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Johnson’s entourage is betting that Gray’s report will smear more against the senior officials responsible for maintaining order and decorum in Downing Street during the pandemic than against the Prime Minister himself, and they consider the episode almost over and consolidated the survival of his boss. The senior official decided to publish part of the document at the end of January.
In order not to interfere with the police investigation, he avoided disclosing the evidence that Scotland Yard was analyzing. That first text already had a devastating content. The staff working for Johnson in Downing Street at that time had shown little respect for the rules in force, and “at least in some of his meetings he committed a serious breach when it came to observing, not only the ethical standards required of the working at the heart of government, but those that could be required of the wider British population during this time,” the report said. He described an environment where there was “excessive drinking which is never appropriate in the workplace” and “failures in the leadership and judgment employed by different departments at 10 Downing Street”.
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