For the British government, led by Boris Johnson, it was a week of apologies.
First, on Wednesday (12/1), in front of Parliament. There, the British Prime Minister Westminster apologized to colleagues For participating in a banquet in May 2020, in full closure due to the Govt-19 epidemic.
So this Friday (14/1), the spokesman for 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s official residence, sent a letter to Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II’s residence, in which she apologized for the two parties’ celebration the night before. Funeral of Prince Philip, Edinburgh, King’s Husband, April 2021.
“The Prime Minister’s Office deeply regrets that it came during the national mourning period,” the statement said.
These meetings were held at a time when there were restrictions on community gatherings as the country was locked up due to the Govt-19 epidemic.
The corruption of the parties, which took place during the most difficult moments of the epidemic when most British citizens could not or could not reunite with their families, caused “anger and sadness” in the country.
Leaders of opposition parties such as Labor and the Liberal Democrats have called for Johnson to step down. And many lawmakers from the Conservative Party have called for the beleagured PM to resign.
Here are the highlights of this scandal, which many believe could have serious consequences for Boris Johnson’s political future.
1. What happened on Downing Street?
The starting point for this scandal could be set in mid-2021, when The Sun newspaper revealed a photo and video of then-British Health Secretary Matt Hong Kong kissing government adviser Gina Coldanzello.
The film is dated from May of that year, when strict restrictions and social exclusion were in place, established by Hong Kong to protect people during epidemics.
These pictures were published, forcing the minister to resign and opening a door that had not yet been closed: when the government itself banned the gathering of more than two people, pictures of Downing Street officials at meetings and parties were leaked.
Although they appear in different order, different celebrations have already come to the attention of the public.
One of the meetings took place in May 2020, and footage shows the Prime Minister and other officials drinking alcohol in the garden of the official residence.
In December 2020, meetings held during Christmas celebrations were also advertised, in which many employees could be seen sharing food and drinks with each other.
At the time, the United Kingdom was in a critical situation, with more than 400 deaths a day.
In the picture of that Christmas season, you can see the Prime Minister sitting at the same table with others in the same room on December 15, 2020, depending on the common quiz or puzzle-solving date of the British New Year celebrations. Picture.
Farewell to retiring government officials at meetings – or the already popular Christmas party on December 18, 2020.
After the first information was released, Johnson initially denied that the meetings had taken place, and later denied involvement.
He later admitted he was in parliament and apologized.
On April 9, 2021, it was reported that Prince Philip had been drinking alcohol the night before his funeral.
One of the pictures that marked that moment – and reappeared with the expression of the celebrations of government members – was Queen Elizabeth II during her husband’s funeral in accordance with the rules laid down by the government to control the epidemic. .
2. What is the reaction of the UK?
As analysts and political leaders in the country put it succinctly, the reaction was “anger and sadness.”
Opposition leader Khair Stormer has strongly argued that Johnson should resign over a wave of details about community gatherings on Downing Street.
“All of this shows the very serious way Boris Johnson has been ousted as prime minister,” Stormer said this week.
He added: “The party is over. Prime Minister, the only question that remains is whether the British will expel you or your own party, or whether you will resign as the last thing you want to do.”
In fact, many Britons dismissed what had happened. Especially those who have lost family members to the virus and are unable to say goodbye to them.
“Two weeks before Boris Johnson attended one of these parties, I last said goodbye to my parents, and I had to do it from a distance,” journalist Chris Bishop wrote in an article in the Eastern Daily Press.
“What worries me the most about all of this is that almost everyone makes sacrifices on a daily basis and those close to top government officials behave as if the guidelines do not apply to them,” he said.
The public in various parts of the country expressed their dissatisfaction.
“It’s disgusting. They tell us we can not do this, we can not do that, we can not take our children, and then we can hold community meetings with whomever they want, anytime. I do not think it is fair.” Sakina, 35, mother of five, in an interview with the BBC.
Many polls suggest that if elections are held now, the Labor Party (Opposition) will have a lead of more than 10 points.
3. What did Boris Johnson say – what awaits him?
When the first reports of meetings on Downing Street became known, Johnson declined to attend.
However, revelations in recent weeks have led to a change in his speech.
It was then that he admitted in parliament that he had gone to one of these meetings, although he said he always thought they were working meetings.
“I want to apologize. I know the extraordinary sacrifices that millions of people have made over the last 18 months.
He added: “In today’s view, I think I should have told everyone to go inside. Even if the official recommendations were technically followed, I should have realized. Millions of people would not see it that way.”
According to some analysts, he’s only got a little breathless with these excuses until the next chapter of the story appears: the investigation into Sue Gray’s work.
Gray is the permanent secretary in government office, but above all the person chosen to carry out the investigation determined to dig into the details of the parties and establish whether they are violating the law in any way.
The report will be released in a few weeks.
BBC political editor Laura Queensberg said: “Some of Johnson’s allies say Sue Gray’s statement last Wednesday could be a burden on him (Johnson) after public commentary.”
“While this does not mean he’s leaving immediately, the truth is that it puts something unthinkable on the table: Boris Johnson’s reign will end soon.”
4. What is the 1922 Committee and why is it important now?
One of the possibilities that has gained strength in recent weeks is the early departure of the Boris Johnson government.
This can happen in many ways, but mainly in two: if he resigns – something that is currently impossible – or if his own party members withdraw him.
This is where the 1922 Committee, originally formed in 1923 and originally consisting of a group of Conservative MPs, meets weekly to review the strategies and actions taken by their party.
With the Conservative Party in power as it is now, the committee’s support is needed to keep the Prime Minister and his cabinet in power.
The no-confidence vote in the committee operates as follows: If a Conservative MP disagrees with the party leadership, he may send a letter to the 1922 Committee Chairman.
If 15% of Conservative MPs receive letters expressing disagreement with the party leadership, a no-confidence vote can be held on the current leader, which will end with his resignation.
So far, the Prime Minister has struggled to stay in office – the next few days will be decisive.
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