Thursday, May 26, 2022

UK government awaits ‘Partygate’ report

LONDON ( Associated Press) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to conclude an investigation into allegations of lockdown-violating parties, a document that could help him end weeks of scandal and discontent, or abruptly end his time in office. could.

senior civil servant Sue Gray It can submit its report to the government on Wednesday. Johnson’s office has promised to publish its findings, and the prime minister will address parliament about it soon.

Gray’s office would not comment at the time, and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the Conservative government had yet to receive the report Wednesday morning.

She said she could not guarantee that the government would publish the full report, adding that “there may be security issues, which means there is a problem with publishing parts of it. But we cannot publish the report’s findings in their entirety.” do.”

Allegations that the prime minister and his staff flouted restrictions imposed on the country to curb the spread of the coronavirus have led some Conservative lawmakers to call for Johnson’s resignation and spark a sharp infighting inside the governing party.

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Johnson has urged his critics to wait for Gray’s conclusion, but his “wait and see” defense was weakened on Tuesday when police said they had opened a criminal investigation. in some meetings.

London’s Metropolitan Police force said at “several events” in Johnson’s Downing Street office and other government buildings that the force met the criteria for investigating the “most serious and major” breaches of coronavirus rules.

Gray is investigating claims that government employees organized late night soirees, boozy parties and “Wine Time Fridays” while Britain was under coronavirus restrictions in 2020 and 2021.

Accusations of “partygate” have angered many in Britain, who were barred from meeting friends and family for months in 2020 and 2021 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The police fined thousands of people for breaking the rules.

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Johnson and his allies have, without much success, tried to quell a scandal that has consumed government energy, which is better spent in combating the international crisis over Russia’s military build-up near Ukraine and a far-reaching coronavirus pandemic. can be done.

Johnson has apologized for attending a “bring your own wine” gathering in the garden of his Downing Street offices in May 2020, but said he considered the party a work gathering that fell within the rules.

His office and supporters have also defended the June 2020 surprise birthday party for the prime minister inside Downing Street.

Loyalist MP Conor Burns said Johnson had no prior knowledge of the gathering.

“It wasn’t a pre-planned, organized party… he was kind of ambushed with cake,” Burns told Channel 4 News.

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