Boris Johnson tries to recover his image after the “Partygate” scandal

Boris Johnson will fight against the “underlying culture” in Downing Street that allowed several parties to be held in full confinement, one of his ministers said this Sunday, at a time when the British head of government tries to recover his image after the plummeting of his popularity. .

Accused by the opposition of “breaking the law”, Johnson will announce measures that include a ban on alcohol consumption in the Downing Street offices, as well as the dismissal of several of his collaborators, according to the Sunday Times.

“I can assure you that the prime minister is very remorseful and deeply regrets what happened,” Oliver Dowden, a minister without portfolio in his cabinet and chairman of the Conservative Party, told the BBC, when asked about the parties.

“But more importantly, he is determined to ensure this does not happen and that we address the underlying culture in Downing Street,” he added.

A senior civil servant, Sue Gray, is investigating a series of festive episodes revealed by the media, held at her Downing Street residence, which is also her place of work.

On Wednesday, Johnson apologized to MPs in the House of Commons, but new revelations have continued to surface since then, such as the continuation of “Friday drinks” in Downing Street during the pandemic, despite restrictions that prohibited such meetings.

This Sunday, The Daily Telegraph published on its front page a photograph of the Prime Minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, hugging with a friend at a party held in September 2020, in apparent breach of social distancing in force at the time. Mrs. Johnson regretted that episode through a spokesperson.

Dowden said that once Gray’s report is delivered, Johnson will take “full responsibility.”

Apologizing before Parliament on Wednesday, Boris Johnson admitted his attendance at one of those parties, in May 2020, although he believed then that it was a work meeting.

– “Unsustainable” position –

The Conservative leader fights for his political survival, but outrage grows, even among Conservatives.

At least six ‘Tory’ deputies publicly announced that they had requested a motion of censure against him, including Tim Loughton, who highlighted on Twitter that his position is “untenable”. “His resignation is the only way to put an end to this sad episode and I am working with other colleagues to make our point of view clear at Downing Street,” he wrote in his tweet.

To achieve his dismissal, it would be necessary for 54 ‘Tory’ legislators to approve said motion. One of them, Andrew Bridgen, claimed that Johnson had “lost his moral high ground”.

His co-religionist Tobias Ellwood stressed that if Johnson was unable to lead by example, he should stand down. And numerous Conservative MPs reported receiving mountains of messages from disgruntled voters.

Johnson has already launched a counteroffensive. According to British media, the leader urged his supporters to praise his achievements, such as compliance with Brexit, in addition to asking some collaborators to leave their positions.

Opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer again demanded Johnson’s departure, in the name of “national interest”

According to two opinion polls published this week, Labor would take a 10-point lead in voting intentions over the Conservatives, following the “Partygate” revelations.

This scandal has undermined Boris Johnson’s popularity with his electorate, made up of traditional Conservatives and members of the pro-Brexit working class.

According to an Opinium poll for The Observer newspaper published this Sunday, 46% of pro-Brexit voters who voted for the Conservative Party in 2019 think Johnson should resign, while 39% want him to stay in office.

But, its popularity index is experiencing its lowest hours, with 64% unfavorable opinions.

To make it come back, the prime minister could, in addition to the measures that concern Downing Street, announce the lifting of the restrictions linked to covid-19 in England on January 26, a measure favored by the decrease in the number of infections.


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