Boris Johnson under fire over criticism his office threw multiple parties as England locked out
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make a downing Street staff reshuffle amid mounting pressure on a number of parties allegedly held by his office in violation of Covid lockdown rules.
The Financial Times reported Johnson will initiate a major restructuring of his senior staff in an attempt to cling to power as public and political criticism escalates against his government.
Speaking anonymously to the FT, a person identified as an ally of Johnson claimed that “Boris realizes he has lost another of his nine lives and it is a brush with political death.” The changes are apparently intended to help Johnson survive until the May 5 local election.
The Conservative Party’s performance in the local election is likely to serve as an important barometer of Johnson’s continued leadership as he struggles to retain the support of his own MPs.
The Telegraph reported on Friday that two staff parties took place on April 16, 2021, the day before the funeral of the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip. At the time, England was under Covid restrictions and the country was in a period of national mourning following the death of the royal. The Prime Minister’s spokesperson released a very short statement on Friday saying he was “Deeply regrettable that this has happened at a time of national mourning. “
He said Downing Street had apologized to Buckingham Palace in light of the information, while refusing to publicly confirm what exactly Number 10 is sorry they did.
On Thursday, the Metropolitan Police released a statement on the reported parties, claiming that although it is “aware” alleged breaches, it will await the results of an internal government investigation before deciding whether to open an investigation to determine whether the conduct constitutes “A criminal offense”.
However, on Friday the Good Law Project (GLP), which pushed the Met to formally investigate the allegations, said police had since changed their position. On its website, the GLP said it had been informed by the Met that it did not “Made the decision to investigate” earlier allegations of Downing Street parties.
On Wednesday in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister said he “take responsability” for attending a garden party in Downing Street during the May 2020 lockdown. Claiming he believed it was a “Work event”, Johnson admitted that he “Walked into this garden just after 6:00 pm… to thank groups of staff. “
Senior official Sue Gray has been tasked by the government to conduct an internal investigation into a number of alleged parties.
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