- UK PM Boris Johnson apologized today after a report on the 'partygate' was released.
- In June 2020, a birthday party was organized for Boris Johnson in Downing Street.
- Civil servant Sue Gray published findings on four gatherings in 2020 and 2021.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson extended an apology and said 'sorry' on Monday over the ongoing controversy regarding lockdown-flouting parties in Downing Street. However, he insisted that he and his government can be trusted, saying "I get it and I will fix it". Johnson told lawmakers in the House of Commons that he would make changes to the way the government is run in the wake of the “partygate” scandal.
He spoke after senior civil servant Sue Gray found that gatherings by the prime minister and his staff represent a “serious failure” to observe the standards expected of government. Gray published findings on four gatherings in 2020 and 2021, and police are investigating a further dozen events. Johnson has rebuffed calls to resign from opposition politicians and some of his own Conservative lawmakers.
What is the 'partygate' controversy?
In June 2020, a birthday party was organized for Boris Johnson in Downing Street and two gatherings held on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021. Allegations that the prime minister and his staff flouted restrictions imposed on the country to curb the spread of the coronavirus have caused public anger, led some Conservative lawmakers to call for Johnson’s resignation and triggered intense infighting inside the governing party. Johnson has denied personal wrongdoing and said he has “absolutely no intention” of resigning.
Johnson’s opponents accused the government of trying to water down a report that could trigger an attempt to oust the prime minister by his own party. Some Conservative lawmakers said they would push for a no-confidence vote if Gray found Johnson was at serious fault.
A 'Serious Failure'
Civil servant Sue Gray published findings on four gatherings in 2020 and 2021, and police are investigating a further dozen events. Calling it a "serious failure", Gray said, "Against the backdrop of the pandemic, when the government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behavior surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify".
Gray’s glimpse inside a 10 Downing St. marked by excessive alcohol consumption and staff afraid to speak out about workplace problems are a blow to Johnson — who has previously said the rules were followed at all times — and come despite the fact that Gray’s conclusions relate to just four of the 16 events she investigated.
Her findings on 12 other events in 2020 and 2021 have been withheld at the request of the police, who have launched a criminal investigation into the most serious alleged breaches of coronavirus rules. The cuts have led opponents to accuse Johnson of a whitewash.
Johnson was due to make a statement on the findings in the House of Commons later Monday. Among the events under investigation by police are a June 2020 birthday party for Johnson in Downing Street and two gatherings held on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021.
Will Johnson resign?
Johnson has rebuffed calls to resign from opposition politicians and some of his own Conservative lawmakers. But Johnson’s grip on power has been weakened by allegations that he and his staff flouted restrictions they imposed on the country in 2020 and 2021 to curb the spread of the coronavirus with “bring your own booze” office parties, birthday celebrations and “wine time Fridays., reported news agency AP.
“The hardship under which citizens across the country worked, lived and sadly even died while observing the government’s regulations and guidance rigorously are known only too well,” Gray wrote.
Earlier, Johnson had denied personal wrongdoing and said he has “absolutely no intention” of resigning.
(With inputs from AP)