UK PM sorry for ‘partygate’ but vows to plough on
NNN: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologized on Monday after his government was criticized for “lack of leadership and judgement” for allowing confinement-breaking parties in his offices.
Johnson’s position hangs in the balance due to the steady trickle of revelations since late last year, but in the last week he was given a lifeline when police intervened.
“I’m sorry for the things we just didn’t get right and also the way this matter was handled,” Johnson told MPs in parliament.
He vowed to “get on with the job” despite widespread political and public anger and calls for him to resign or be forced to do so.
“I understand and I will fix it,” he added, promising sweeping changes to his Downing Street operation following criticism of a lack of managerial accountability and oversight.
The police investigation meant official Sue Gray was forced to avoid going into detail in a long-awaited report on 16 events held in 2020 and last year, so as not to damage Scotland Yard’s investigation.
But Gray still managed a stinging rebuke to the prime minister’s authority, contrasting the behavior of government officials with the sacrifices made by the public during the pandemic.
There had been “very little thought” about how appropriate events with alcohol were and others would be seen as playing by the rules, unable to comfort loved ones sick and dying with Covid.
“There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 (Downing Street) and the Cabinet Office at different times,” Gray wrote in his 12-page report.
“Some of the events should not have been allowed. Other events should not have been allowed to unfold the way they did.”
Gray questioned more than 70 people and examined emails, WhatsApp and text messages, photos and Downing Street check-in and check-out records.
He condemned “excessive” drinking in Downing Street, as well as the difficult expansion of the prime minister’s office in recent years that has blurred lines of responsibility.
Johnson’s opponents accused him of misleading parliament by insisting that the events in Downing Street were within the rules at the time and related to work.
Ministers who have misled parliamentarians are normally expected to resign.
On the streets of London, many agreed. “I think he is not fit to be prime minister. I think I should resign,” said Sarah, who works for the state National Health Service.
But others said it was time to move on. “He’s not going to quit and I guess there are more important things to do now,” Tom, who works in finance, told AFP.
In angry exchanges in the House of Commons, Johnson urged all parties to await the findings of the Metropolitan Police itself.
But Opposition Labor Leader Keir Starmer said the fact that 12 of the 16 matches, including one in Johnson’s apartment, were subject to a police investigation was “a sign of shame”.
“He is a man without shame,” the former chief prosecutor said, urging Johnson’s Conservative cabinet allies to oust him rather than “support further misconduct, cover-ups and deception.”
Weeks of revelations since December have seen leaked photos and emails indicating repeated violations of the social distancing rules the government has set for the country.
They include a cocktail party in May 2020 in Downing Street Garden, as well as Christmas celebrations and a drinks-filled gathering ahead of Prince Philip’s funeral.
The staff reportedly brought a suitcase full of alcohol and danced into the early hours.
Queen Elizabeth II was later photographed at the funeral, sitting alone in the chapel at Windsor Castle, mourning her husband of 73 years.
Downing Street later apologized to the monarch.
room to breathe
The revelations have posed the biggest threat to Johnson’s job since he became prime minister in 2019 on a groundswell of support for his populist Brexit agenda.
A handful of his own MPs have said publicly that they had no confidence in his leadership. More were expected to join them.
Fifty-four Conservative MPs are bound to force a no-confidence vote, but many stood by their advice before the Gray report was published.
But with Gray’s report limited in scope and the police investigation potentially months long, Johnson has been given a chance to regroup his supporters and get back on the front lines.
In recent days, he has spoken tough against Russia as tensions between Moscow and Kiev rise, and he is eager to press ahead with his post-Brexit agenda.
Source Credit: TheGuardian
- Delta Assembly passes Development, Property Authority Bill
- Kaduna govt. inaugurates committee for policy on private school operations
- Stakeholders call for increase in death notification
- Estate agent faces N3.4m land scam charge
- Kano traffic agency deploys 1,500 personnel for Eid-el-Kabir
- WHO to reconvene monkeypox emergency committee
- Seadogs lifts Nasarawa community with portable water
- 467 police constables graduate from Police College, Ilorin
- Police pass out 9,989 Constables from training schools
- New Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) Book Enriches Knowledge on Fatāwa Related to Leasing Contracts
- Man, 40, faces N1.7m visa scam charge
- Eid-el Kabir: We’re badly affected by economic downturn, ram sellers, buyers cry out
- Cuba Consortium signs agreement to establish vaccines manufacturing plant in Bayelsa
- Acting VC tasks Deans on soft, developmental skills
- Teenager in court for alleged shop breaking
- The Chairperson of the African Union Commission calls for tolerance and peaceful co-existence in Western Ethiopia
- Man, 24, docked for alleged shop breaking, theft
- Honoring H.E. Muhammad Barkindo, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary General
- Man, 65, gets life imprisonment for raping 85-year-old step mother
- Police present N24m cheques to families of 8 deceased officers