Justin Tallis / Pool / ReutersBoris Johnson has come under fire for criticism and has even faced calls to resign following revelations about a possible party at 10 Downing Street despite anti-Covid restrictions.
UNITED KINGDOM – And one more political scandal for Boris Johnson, once again under pressure. After nearly two years of controversial management of the Covid health crisis, the British prime minister found himself at the center of a new controversy in December. In question, a video published on the night of Tuesday, December 7, by ITV.
In the images, which date from December 2020, several collaborators of the Head of Government joke about the organization of a Christmas party, despite the fact that London was at that time subject to very strict restrictions, being forbidden the meetings of two or more people .
The video shows Allegra Stratton, Boris Johnson’s press secretary at the time, Councilman Ed Oldfied and another collaborator joking about an “imaginary party.” The first of them can be seen answering questions about a Christmas party in Downing Street (the prime minister’s residence) the previous Friday, when a meeting was said to have taken place in violation of health regulations. “This imaginary party was a business meeting without social distances,” he jokes among other mocking exchanges where “cheese and wine” is also evoked.
Employees who are clearly having fun, in the absence of journalists but just before a press conference, imagining the response they would give if the outfit for the evening were revealed.
On the side of the British prime minister, we initially reacted by insisting that “there had been no Christmas party”, adding that “Covid rules have always been respected.” But it did not take less for the opposition to pronounce firmly on the matter.
The rope opposition
Thus, the leader of the Labor Party, the main opposition formation, Keir Starmer, condemned the government for its “shameful” behavior, denouncing Boris Johnson “respecting social distancing from the truth” and his collaborators finding it “funny”. to play by the rules.
“People across the country followed the guidelines even when they were separated from their loved ones. They have the right to expect the government to do the same, ”he tweeted. “Lying and joking about these lies is shameful,” he said.
Scottish National Party leader Ian Blackford felt the prime minister was no longer trustworthy and demanded his resignation. The “government is breaking its own Covid rules and then jokes in a video about it,” he said on the STV News TV show. “This is really not acceptable and I have to say, sadly, that based on this behavior … he should go, and he should go now,” he added.
For its part, an association that groups together families who lost loved ones during the pandemic criticized a “behavior of people who believe they are superior to us.” “There are no words to describe how annoying and embarrassing it is to hear Boris Johnson’s team joke about violating the rules they have promulgated, while others (…) could only say goodbye to their loved ones through a screen,” he laments the Asociation. in a press release.
Boris Johnson tries to limit the damage
In the wake of this volley of green wood, Boris Johnson had to react hastily on Wednesday, December 8, when the matter made the front page of the Guardian and made headlines in all of the nation’s media.
Thus, the Prime Minister announced the opening of an investigation and tried to show an act of contrition.
“I apologize unreservedly for the impression” that this matter gives, he said during the weekly question and answer session in parliament, the day after the publication of this video.
Boris Johnson, who said he was “furious” after the publication of the video in question, reiterated that “he had been assured several times” since the beginning of this case that “there had been no party” and that “there were no rules.” It has broken. Therefore, it also announced the opening of an internal investigation. “It goes without saying that if the rules are broken, there will be disciplinary action,” he added.
London police have announced that they will not open an investigation. Despite the abundant “correspondence” received in this case, London police said in a statement that “due to lack of evidence”, “they would not initiate an investigation at this stage”, in accordance with their “policy of not investigating. retrospectively”. violations of these rules ”.
This Wednesday, December 8, Allegra Stratton, who since then has worked for the government in particular as a spokesperson for Cop26, announced her resignation due to this scandal.
Also on HuffPost: Boris Johnson dryly called to order in the House of Commons
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