LONDON ( Associated Press) – British lawmakers on Thursday ordered a parliamentary inquiry into Prime Minister Boris Johnson for allegedly lying about whether he broke coronavirus restrictions by attending illegal gatherings during the pandemic.
The move, with the slogan “Ai” and approved without a formal vote in the House of Commons, meant that Parliament’s Committee of Privileges would investigate whether Johnson knowingly misled Parliament – historically a resignation offense On being proved.
The investigation puts more pressure on a conservative prime minister whose grip on power has been shaken by claims that he flouted pandemic rules imposed on the country, then repeatedly failed to own up to it.
The move was provoked by the opposition Labor Party and was passed after the government abandoned attempts to block it to Conservative MPs. Johnson’s Conservatives have a substantial majority in parliament, but many lawmakers are uncomfortable with the prime minister’s behavior.
Labor leader Keir Starmer said the move sought to “uphold the simple principle that honesty, integrity and truthfulness matter in our politics.”
“It is a British principle … guiding the members of every political party in this House,” Starmer said. “But this is a theory under attack.”
Read more: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologizes for attending garden party during country’s lockdown
Johnson was not present for the ruling of a scandal that shook the country and his leadership of the Conservative Party. He was more than 4,000 miles (6,400 km) away in India, insisting he wanted to “get ahead with the job” to lead the country.
Johnson was last week fined 50 pounds ($66) by police for attending his birthday party at his office in June 2020, when people in Britain were allowed to visit friends and family or even visit him. That there was a ban on meeting the relatives of the deceased. Johnson is the first British prime minister to have broken the law while in office.
He has apologized, but denied that he intentionally broke the rules. Johnson’s shifting defense – initially saying there was no illegal gathering, then claiming “it didn’t happen to me” that the birthday event was a party – sparked ridicule and outrage from opponents, who called for him to leave. Said.
Scottish National Party legislator Ian Blackford said in the House of Commons, “The truth is simple and it is – he lied to avoid being caught, and once caught, he lied again.”
Lawmakers are generally forbidden from accusing each other of lying, but Blackford was not reprimanded by the speaker.
A growing number of Conservatives are uneasy to defend a leader who breaks the rules imposed on the country. Some have openly asked Johnson to leave, and the numbers are rising. Others are waiting to see if public anger translates into Conservative losses in the May 5 local elections.
“To be asked to defend the inevitable is utterly disheartening,” said Conservative legislator William Rag. “Every time our part withers away.”
Lawmaker Steve Baker, by far a major supporter, said Johnson “should have gone a long way” for violating the “letter and spirit” of the rules.
“I would definitely vote for this proposal,” he said. “But really, the prime minister should just know the gig.”
The Committee of Privileges’ investigation will not begin until the twin police and civil service investigation into “Partygate” is over.
Read more: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson fined for breaking COVID lockdown rules
Senior civil servant Sue Gray is investigating 16 incidents, including “bring your own wine” office parties and “Wine Time Fridays” at Johnson’s 10 Downing St office and other government buildings. Police are investigating a dozen incidents and have so far imposed at least 50 fines, including those involving Johnson, his wife Carrie and Treasury chief Rishi Sunak. Johnson is believed to have attended about six gatherings and could face a higher police fine.
Johnson and his allies argue that it would be reckless for the country to change leaders now amid the cost of living in Ukraine due to the war and rising energy and food prices.
As he flew to India for a two-day visit focused on boosting economic ties, Johnson again denied intentionally misleading parliament and insisted he would lead the Conservatives in the next national election by 2024.
“I have absolutely nothing to hide,” Johnson told Sky News during his visit to the western Indian state of Gujarat. “I want to continue the work I was chosen to do.”