Johnson Under Pressure: Banned Party During Pandemic?

Status: 11.01.2022 2:55 p.m.

A Christmas party during the pandemic is already under investigation. Now an email – an invitation to a garden party – brings British Prime Minister Johnson increasingly into distress. The police are determining whether corona requirements have been violated.

May 2020: Strict Corona requirements apply in Great Britain. Schools, pubs and restaurants are closed, only two people are allowed to meet outdoors. The British government had decreed that. But 10 Downing Street does not seem to be bound by these conditions. An email that the broadcaster ITV has now published brings Prime Minister Boris Johnson further into distress.

Because for the evening of May 20, Johnson’s office manager Martin Reynolds is said to have invited more than 100 people by email. Reynolds called on employees in the email quoted by ITV, after a hectic time, to make the most of the beautiful weather and to meet in the evening for drinks at a distance in the garden of 10 Downing Street. “It starts at 6 p.m., bring your own alcohol,” said the ITV in the invitation to the party in the middle of the pandemic. According to ITV, there were about 40 employees, including Johnson himself and his then partner and now wife Carrie.

According to the AFP news agency, the London police are investigating the case. In a statement by the police on Monday evening, the garden party therefore said that possible violations of the measures applicable at the time to contain the corona pandemic should be examined. Health Minister Ed Argar confirmed that there was also a further investigation.

“There is no way to distance yourself”

The British media and the political opposition were outraged by the latest revelations: “This is the worst exposure the Prime Minister has ever experienced because of this abuse. There is no explanation. There is no way to distance yourself,” the Guardian quoted as saying “a cabinet member. “His only salvation would be if the public didn’t care anymore.”

“Enough, Boris! End this ridiculous party gate now,” wrote the Daily Express, which usually supports the conservative government.

The opposition accused Johnson of lying to parliament and the public. “This fits into the pattern of hiding the truth and then starting to lie when things come out,” Labor politician Emily Thornberry told the BBC. Her colleague Ed Miliband asked the Sky News broadcaster the rhetorical question of whether Johnson was still able to lead the country through the pandemic in view of the allegations. “How can he get people to follow the government’s health advice when he’s broken the rules so blatantly?” Asked Miliband.

BBC reporter Laura Kuenssberg commented: “There is no escape for No 10 from the party allegations.” Long tables were set up for drinks, chips and sausage rolls in the garden of Johnson’s official residence.

Parliament called an urgent meeting at short notice, at which the government would answer questions. The prime minister himself was not present.

Investigation already because of the Christmas party

Johnson’s government had already come under severe criticism several times in public and within its own ranks for alleged violations of the self-imposed corona rules. Official Simon Case had been tasked with investigating a possible Christmas party by Johnson’s employees in the middle of the Corona lockdown in December 2020. Because according to media reports there had also been forbidden Christmas parties in his department, he was later replaced by Sue Gray.

Gray will now “independently” examine the garden party in May 2020, as Health Minister Argar told Sky News. Political London is now eagerly awaiting the result.

Johnson had repeatedly asserted that his employees had not violated Corona guidelines. When an internal video from December 2020 showed the prime minister’s close associates joking about the cover-up of a Christmas party, Johnson insisted in Parliament: “I can understand how angry it is to think that the people who made the rules, the Failed to follow rules because I was angry too. ” Now his words from December 2021 could have consequences for Johnson himself.

British Prime Minister Johnson under pressure for further lockdown celebration

Christoph Prössl, ARD London, 11.1.2022 12:52 p.m.

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