Is it time for Boris to go?
Updated: Dec 27, 2022
England was locked down and reporting an average of 79,195 cases of COVID-19 a day. People weren’t allowed to attend funerals, see family members, or visit dying relatives in hospital. If any had attempted to do so a fine of £100 would be imposed on them alongside a charge of criminal wrong-doing. People didn’t break the rules though - choosing instead to follow advice, abide by restrictions and behave responsibly
However, this wasn’t necessarily the case for all and as the days and weeks slip by it becomes increasingly clear that the rule makers themselves, including the chief rule maker of them all, broke their own rules. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has of course apologised for attending a party in Downing Street's garden during the first lockdown in May 2020, although he has also claimed it wasn’t a party at all and that he was in lots of ways ignorant to its very existence. Despite this apology, Senior Conservatives are still asking for his resignation.
The Prime Minister told the House of Commons that he believed the gathering, which was promoted as a "bring your own booze" occasion by his own private secretary, was "business" related. This leaked information has outraged the British public as they were punished for disobeying the law, whereas the PM had been breaking his own. There wasn’t just one occasion however where rules were bent and parties held. Indeed, it has been alleged that another boozy party was held at Downing Street on the night before the funeral of the Queen’s husband, Prince Phillip. This has been responded to with dismay and the sense that it is the height of disrespect towards the Queen who at the time was isolating and was unable to mourn the death of her beloved husband with friends and family as would normally be the custom. Boris Johnson has since apologised to the Queen and said that he “deeply regretted that it had happened” and that “he takes full responsibility.”
There have been many questions asked by Brits, reporters and the House of Commons regarding why Boris Johnson would do such a thing. Boris Johnson has responded with the same answer frequently which is that they should wait for the “Sue Gray report to come out.” Sue Gray has worked for the Cabinet Office through both Conservative and Labour governments, and she has a solid reputation, described as "the most powerful person you've never heard of" by the government's propriety and ethics team director general in 2015. Sue Gray along with the Metropolitan Police are investigating the parties of 10 Downing Street. Unfortunately for many, Gray’s report has had to be severely redacted because of the Met investigation, meaning she has been unable to give feedback on the parties she was instructed to investigate. Opponents of Johnson are hopeful that in time she will be able to reveal all.
However, Boris Johnson has managed to stagger on, backed up very well by his Conservative colleagues due to the fact that he is viewed to have been the Prime Minister who “got Brexit done” and has been the figurehead of a very successful vaccine roll-out in the face of the pandemic.
Evidence continues to mount, and the polls look increasingly bad for the Conservatives - but the jury is still out. Will Johnson have to ultimately face the music or will he be able to weather the storm and live to fight another day?