Britain: “Partygate” affair catches up with Boris Johnson – opposition calls for his resignation
London Now Boris Johnson has gotten it after all. The British Prime Minister and his Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak have been fined for breaching the corona lockdown at the height of the pandemic.
“The Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer received notification on Tuesday that the Metropolitan Police intend to serve them with fine notices,” a government spokesman said in London. London police are investigating 12 gatherings in the government district and have now issued more than 50 fines. The fine is 100 pounds (120 euros).
The so-called “Partygate” affair catches up with Johnson and deals another blow to his finance minister, who is already battered by a tax affair. The ruling Conservatives are coming under further pressure ahead of local elections on May 5th.
Johnson initially denied attending the party at 10 Downing Street, his seat of government, but was then forced to admit his presence after video evidence revealed it. To this day, however, he denies having violated the law. He ended up unknowingly at the parties and was misinformed by his staff. Johnson’s wife Carrie also received a fine.
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The affair had caused a great deal of anger among the British population, with almost all social gatherings being banned during the harsh lockdown period of 2020 and 2021. Not even visits to hospitals or funeral services were allowed.
The Ukrainian war pushed the affair into the background
The fact that members of the government, including the prime minister, have themselves apparently broken the rules they imposed on the country during the pandemic is likely to increase the political pressure on Johnson and his cabinet again. As recently as February, numerous MPs from his own party had called for Johnson’s resignation.
At the time, his departure seemed only a matter of time. Then came the war in Ukraine and the “Partygate” affair faded into the background. The crisis-experienced Johnson seemed saved once again.
Now the scandal is catching up with him again. “Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak broke the law and repeatedly lied to the British public. You both have to resign,” demanded Labor Party leader Keir Starmer. Ed Davey of the Liberal Democrats, who are also in opposition, demanded that Johnson ask a vote of confidence in a special session of the House of Commons.
“Police have now completely refuted Johnson’s claims that no laws were broken,” Davey said. He cannot be trusted and cannot continue as Prime Minister. “No other leader in any other organization would be allowed to proceed after breaking the law on this scale.”
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party and London Mayor Sadiq Khan (Labour) also called on Johnson to step down.
Johnson has a large majority in the House of Commons
At the moment, however, it seems unlikely that there will be a resignation or a rebellion against Johnson. The ruling Tories have an 80-seat majority in the House of Commons. Many of Johnson’s party friends who wanted to replace him earlier this year with a vote of no confidence from the parliamentary group have since withdrawn their motions. 54 conservative parliamentarians would have to support a vote of no confidence in order to make it possible to vote out.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, Minister for the Chances of Brexit, had stated at the beginning of April that the lockdown violations were no longer “the most important issue” in Great Britain in view of the war in Ukraine. So far, however, the British have always very stubbornly decided for themselves what they consider important and unimportant.
More: The Russian crisis saved Boris Johnson politically – for the time being