Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologized on Wednesday for attending a Garden Party during Britain’s coronavirus lockdown in 2020, saying there are things his government “didn’t do right.”
Johnson is facing the wrath of the public and politicians over claims that he and his staff flouted pandemic restrictions by socializing on restrictions. Some members of his Conservative Party say he should resign if he cannot quell the uproar.
Johnson admitted for the first time on Wednesday he went to a May 2020 garden party at his Downing Street office, though he said he considered it a work event to thank employees for their efforts during the pandemic.
Johnson told lawmakers in the House of Commons: “I want to apologize. …
Opponents and allies alike have demanded Johnson come clean about the “bring your own wine” party when Britain was under strict lockdown imposed by Johnson to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The invitation to the “socially-distanced drinks” gathering was emailed to around 100 people by a senior aide of the prime minister. At that time people in Britain were prohibited by law from meeting more than one person outside their home.
Johnson’s lunchtime appearance at the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session in the House of Commons was his first public appearance since party details emerged.
The prime minister struck a tone of remorse, but urged people to wait for the conclusion of an investigation by senior civil servant Sue Grey into several alleged parties by government employees.
Opposition Labor Party leader Keir Starmer said Johnson’s statement was “a pitiful spectacle of a man who has been driven off the street.
“His defense … that he didn’t know he was at a party is so ridiculous it’s actually offensive to the British public,” Starmer said. “Eventually he was forced to admit, what everyone knew, that he was hosting booze parties in Downing Street when the whole country was locked down. Would he be able to do good now and resign? going to give?”
The party scandal adds to a growing list of troubles for Johnson.
The scandal, dubbed “Partygate”, has become the biggest crisis in Johnson’s two-and-a-half years in power. During the UK’s first lockdown, which began in March 2020 and lasted more than two months, almost all gatherings were banned. Millions were cut off from friends and family, and even barred from visiting relatives who died in hospitals. Police fined thousands for breaking the ban on gatherings.
So there is widespread anger over claims that Johnson’s Conservative government flouted rules imposed in the rest of the country by holding garden parties, Christmas get-together and office quiz nights in Downing Street, which is the prime minister’s home and his home. Office is both. ,
Opposition leaders are calling for Johnson’s resignation. Of greater concern for the prime minister is that many members of his own party are concerned about Johnson’s decisions and leadership.
The Conservatives chose Johnson as leader in 2019 for his spirited manner and popular touch, and despite serial allegations of rule-bending and dishonesty that followed him during his twin careers as journalist and politician. The election proved right when he led the party to a major electoral victory in December that year.
But discontent over persistent pandemic restrictions is eroding support within the party, which some conservatives see as harsh. He is also facing unease about his decision after several financial and moral misconduct allegations against himself and his government.
The Conservatives have a history of ousting leaders if they become a liability – and a recent surprise defeat in a by-election for a district the party has held for more than a century.
Conservative legislator Christian Wakeford urged Johnson not to “defend the inevitable.”
Wakeford wrote on Twitter: “It’s shameful and what’s worse, it further undermines trust in politics when it’s already low.” “We need openness, trust and honesty in our politics now more than ever and it starts from the top!”
Tobias Ellwood, another Conservative MP, said Johnson needed to apologise and “show some remorse” to ride out the storm.
“We can’t let things flow, it’s not an option,” he told Sky News.