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UK investigation into alleged Downing Street parties finds ‘serious failure’ to observe high standards


Boris Johnson is seen looking on as the British Prime Minister visits Tilbury Docks, Thurrock, England on January 31, 2022.

Matt Dunham | WPA Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images

LONDON — Senior civil servant Sue Gray has released the initial findings of her long-awaited investigation into the Downing Street “partygate” scandal.

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the Conservative Party, will address Parliament at 3:30 PM London time before speaking to all Conservative Party legislators in an evening meeting.

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The move comes after Gray, the Metropolitan Police’s controversially requested that she make “minimal references” to those parties listed in Gray’s report. British legislators reacted to the Met’s actions by accusing the police of trying to influence the political process, and “whitewashing” the report.

Multiple reports have been made about various parties and gatherings in government buildings. The latest revelation in recent weeks is that a party was held in lockdown on Johnson’s birthday, June 19, 2020.

Johnson so far resisted calls to resignFrom all political stripes, in spite of public anger over a long and growing list of alleged lockdown breaches.

Next, what’s the next step?

Johnson’s closest friends and colleagues were among those who remained loyal to Johnson. Many of his lawmakers had stated repeatedly that they would wait for Sue Gray’s findings before judging their leader.

The oft-repeated phrase trotted out by Conservative politicians has allowed the prime minister to buy some time to lobby lawmakers for support in a bid to stave off a vote of no confidence — which is triggered if 54 Tory MPs send letters of no confidence to the chairman of the 1922 Committee, an influential group of backbench lawmakers which oversees leadership challenges.

The number of letters that were sent to Graham Brady, 1922’s chairman is unknown. However, many politicians have declared publicly they don’t believe in Johnson’s leadership.

Brady will be watching closely to see if 54 of Gray’s letters have been declared. The confidence vote could be initiated if there are enough letters of confidence.

According to current rules, if a majority vote of Tory MPs supports Johnson, there is no right to call for a new vote for 12 more months. However, the 1922 Committee may change the rule to allow two votes each year.

Johnson would have to resign if he lost the election. The Conservative leadership race would then begin. Johnson as ousted leader would not be permitted to stand in that scenario.

Johnson could also resign on his own, but it is not clear that he intends to.

Some legislators may prefer to wait to see how the Conservative Party does in May’s local elections. They will be able to gauge public anger about “partygate” and they might even choose to do so. But, opinions polls show that Johnson and his government have lost trust and support.

Are you ready to party?

Johnson’s leadership is under tremendous pressure following weeks of media coverage (from before Christmas) about multiple gatherings and parties attended by government employees, which included Johnson.

Johnson has been caught at large by one particular gathering. This was during the initial lockdown when people were only permitted to meet with one another outside their family in an outdoor setting.

Johnson admitted to Parliament earlier in January that he attended the party — billed as a “bring your own booze” gathering in Downing Street’s garden to which around 100 people were reportedly invited.

However, he stated to lawmakers that he was only there for about 25 minutes and wanted to thank staff members for their hardwork. He also said that he believed that the event was work-related. This comment was mocked by opposition politicians.

Johnson’s leadership style and comments at May 2020 Party have been criticised by the Labour Party, which called for the resignation of the prime minister.

Johnson made his sincere apologies to the nation for being there. Labour leader Keir starmer stated that Johnson’s excuse was so ridiculous it “offends the British public”. He asked Johnson to “leave the country and do the right thing.”