- Johnson expressed contrition but claimed that the May 20 gathering was a work event at the time.
- After a top aide extended an invite to the “socially distanced drinks” gathering to around 100 people.
- “Boris Johnson is well aware that his popularity in the United Kingdom is at an all-time low.”
Violation of his government’s own Pandemic Protocols
During a coronavirus lockdown in May 2020, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted to attending a garden party at his Downing Street house, in violation of his government’s own pandemic protocols. Johnson apologized to the people for his actions before Parliament on Wednesday but evaded calls for his resignation from the opposition. “I understand their wrath at me over the government I lead when they believe the rules aren’t being followed correctly by the people who create the rules,” he said during his weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session in the House of Commons. Johnson expressed contrition but claimed that the May 20 gathering was a work event at the time, an excuse that was roundly mocked by critics on social media (Al Jazeera, 2022).
Socially Distanced Drinks
The PM said he went into the Downing Street garden to express gratitude to his workers before returning to his office 25 minutes later. He admitted that, in retrospect, he should have intervened to prevent the situation from continuing. After a top aide extended an invite to the “socially distanced drinks” gathering to around 100 people, approximately 40 people reportedly attended the party, including Johnson’s wife, Carrie. Under the UK’s lockdown laws, most schools were closed to most students, pubs and restaurants were closed, and social mingling was strictly controlled. Two people from different houses were permitted to meet outside, but only if they kept a gap of 2 meters (6.5 feet) between them.
Johnson ‘on the ropes
Johnson’s comments were described by opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer as “the pitiful spectacle of a man who has run out of roads” and “offensive to the British public.” Will he accept the fact that the party is over and resign? Starmer posed the question in the House of Commons. Johnson dismissed calls for him to resign, instead urging people to wait for the results of a probe led by senior civil servant Sue Gray into multiple alleged lockdown-breaking parties thrown by government employees. Gray has until the end of the month to submit her findings. Johnson, according to Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba, was “on the ropes like never before,” according to Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba, reporting from London (Al Jazeera, 2022).
Lost the public’s trust
People are suggesting that the PM‘s actions and how he’s handled these charges have weakened the public’s trust in his capacity to guide them through and out of the pandemic. “Boris Johnson is well aware that his popularity in the UK is at an all-time low.” Several other controversies have marred Johnson’s tenure. It includes a scandal over the pricey remodeling of his private Downing Street apartment and ongoing suspicions of ministerial corruption while he was in office. The 57-year-old Conservative Party leader won a resounding election victory in 2019 on a pledge to achieve the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and has been praised for leading Britain’s vaccination efforts, but his popularity has dropped in recent months.
(Al Jazeera, 2022)
UK PM Johnson Admits Attending Party During Lockdown, Apologises | Coronavirus Pandemic News | Al Jazeera. (202211, January 11). UK PM Johnson admits attending party during lockdown, apologises | Coronavirus pandemic News | Al Jazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/1/12/uk-pm-johnson-admits-to-attending-lockdown-gathering.