LONDON – Britain’s main opposition leader accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of breaking the law on Sunday, but the government vowed change after several revelations about lockdown-violating parties.
In the latest, Johnson’s wife Carrie was photographed on the front page of the Sunday Telegraph newspaper hugging a friend at a September 2020 party, in clear violation of the then rules on social distancing.
At least six lawmakers from Johnson’s Conservative Party have now publicly called on him to step down, while others say they await the findings of an internal investigation by senior civil servant Sue Grey.
Labor leader Keir Starmer, who is enjoying a boom in opinion polls on the back of Downing Street “partygate” allegations, said the facts were already clear.
“I think he broke the law. I think he’s as good as he admits he broke the law,” Starmer told BBC television.
Gray only has the authority to establish the facts, he said, calling on police to look into a possible criminal investigation after his report comes.
“The prime minister has degraded the prime minister’s office and he has lost absolute authority not only in his own party, but in the country,” Starmer said.
Government Minister Oliver Dowden, the Conservatives’ co-chair, acknowledged that the Downing Street parties were “totally unacceptable”.
But Dowden backed Johnson to stay in office, while Gray insisted he take “full responsibility” after releasing his findings.
“I can tell you that when he answers the House of Commons, as he has committed to do, he will make sure that we address the kind of culture that has allowed this to happen in the first place. , he told Sky News.
Conservative MPs, many of whom were spending the weekend in their home constituencies, say they are being misled by messages from voters angered by accounts of rule-breaking in Downing Street.
After weeks of denials and stonewalling, Johnson last week apologized for at least one boring event organized by his staff in parliament, which he attended in May 2020, when Britons were banned from socializing.
Two other parties were held in April 2021 as Queen Elizabeth II prepared for the burial of her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip. Downing Street apologized, describing Buckingham Palace as “deeply regretful”.
But they were not isolated incidents, according to Saturday’s Daily Mirror, which published a photo of a fridge delivery at the back door of Downing Street in December 2020 for “Wine Time Friday.” – France Media Agency