'Partygate': The scandal that has Boris Johnson on the backfoot and London police making inquiries
Troubles mounted for Britain’s embattled prime minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday as the London police formally began investigating allegations that he and his staff organised parties at the PM’s office and residence during Covid lockdowns in 2020.
Troubles mounted for Britain’s embattled prime minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday as the London police formally began investigating allegations that he and his staff organised parties at the PM’s office and residence during COVID lockdowns in 2020.
Johnson has been struggling for the survival of his political career ever since the reports emerged of parties at his Downing Street office, which were held when social gatherings were banned to curb the spread of coronavirus.
In the latest reports, it has been claimed that Johnson broke lockdown protocols by holding his birthday party on 19 June, 2020.
'Partygate' has shaken the government in the recent week and led to calls for Johnson’s resignation. Here’s everything you need to know about it:
– It all started to unravel for Boris when an email by the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds was released by ITV that asked over 100 employees at 10 Downing Street to bring alcohol to the party and to “make the most of the lovely weather” on 20 May, 2020.
– The ITV report said that around 40 members of the Prime Minister’s staff gathered in the garden along with Boris and his wife Carrie.
– The Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, defended Johnson saying the picture was not of a party.
– After some members of his Conservative Party said he should resign if he can’t quell the public furor, Johnson apologised on 12 January in the House of Commons saying there were things his government “did not get right”.
– Johnson acknowledged for the first time on 12 January that he went to the May 2020 garden party at his Downing Street office, though he said that he had considered it a work event to thank staff for their efforts during the pandemic.
– The scandal dubbed “Partygate” has become the biggest crisis of Johnson’s two-and-a-half years in power.
– Opposition politicians are calling for Johnson’s resignation. More worryingly for the prime minister, many members of his own party are increasingly concerned about Johnson’s judgement and leadership.
More than one parties during lockdown
– Senior civil servant Sue Grey is presently investigating a number of parties held at Downing Street while Covid norms were in effect across the country.
– On 15 May, 2020, Boris and more than a dozen people gathered for another party at his Downing Street residence. As per a report by The Guardian, he is believed to have told an aide that they deserved a drink for “beating back” coronavirus.
— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) December 19, 2021
– Johnson’s former advisor Dominic Cumming claimed before resigning that there was a party at the PM’s residence on 13 November, 2020. Even though Johnson’s office denied the allegations, a report by The Times said that the prime minister gave a parting speech to his communications chief Lee Cain the same evening.
– In another report by The Guardian, the Treasury confirmed that “a small number of staff had impromptu drinks around their desk” on 25 November, 2020, to celebrate Rishi Sunak’s autumn spending review.
– According to Indian Express, two days later on 27 November, Johnson addressed a room full of people while giving a departure speech to one of his aides.
– A photograph first published in The Times showed the Conservative Party staff enjoying food and drinks at the party headquarters on 14 December, 2020.
– In another leaked photograph, Johnson was seen attending a Christmas quiz at his residence.
– As per The Guardian, on 18 December 2020, the British PM’s now director of communication is believed to have addressed up to 50 people and presented awards.
With inputs from agencies
The additional UK funding will go towards electronic warfare equipment, a counter battery radar system, GPS jamming equipment and thousands of night vision devices, among other military kit pledged by Boris Johnson earlier.
Those fined so far include PM Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie and finance minister Rishi Sunak. The government said they were fined for a gathering in Downing Street marking the prime minister's birthday in June 2020