British politics is heating up again over the partygate scandal. Across the pond, PM Boris Johnson is back in the headlines as he faces renewed calls to resign over lockdown rules he broke but expected all Britons to follow. Johnson was facing a no-confidence vote by his party a month ago, but then the war in Ukraine broke out, and he was saved by the air raid sirens.
Johnson paid the fine, he apologized multiple times, but the political fury does not seem to be going away.
Conservative MP Mark Harper has called for Boris Johnson to step down, saying the prime minister is “no longer worthy” of the office. Harper handed in a letter of no-confidence to the 1922 Committee, and David Davis classified Johnson’s actions as nothing short of “moral delinquency.”
On LBC, broadcaster Andrew Marr spoke of the “intense anger” he felt about Johnson’s conduct in partygate scandal and said: “I buried my father on the week that one of those parties took place, and it was a party.”
The opposition parties accusing the Prime Minister of misleading the House of Commons hardly surprised anyone. PM Johnson’s apology fell on deaf ears and was taken as a “total joke” by the Labour. Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party, called Johnson “a man without shame” during an explosive exchange in the House of Commons yesterday.
Johnson has accused Sir Keir Starmer of living in a Doctor Who time warp
Today, at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons Starmer again attacked Johnson despite his multiple apologies over the partygate scandal. “Does the Prime Minister actually accept that he broke the law?” Starmer’s question was not rhetorical.
“I think he’s in some kind of Doctor Who time warp,” Johnson did not spare Starmer. “We had this conversation yesterday, Mr Speaker, and I’ve explained why I bitterly regret receiving a fine and I apologize to the House,” said Boris Johnson and added that he takes “responsibility and we are going to get on with delivering for the British people.”
Starmer was not convinced. “Yesterday’s apology lasted for as long as the Prime Minister thought necessary to be clipped for the news. But once the cameras were off, once the cameras were off, the Prime Minister went to see his backbenchers and he was back to blaming everyone else.”
Boris Johnson has apologized over partygate scandal. What more does Labour want?
The Labour is pushing for the vote on the formal parliamentary investigation into whether Johnson deliberately lied to the parliament. Lindsay Hoyle, the House of Commons Speaker, approved the vote to go forward.
Talking for BBC Radio 4 this morning, Angela Rayner MP said that Johnson “knows that it’s not just about an apology, he did lie to Parliament.”
Rayner accused the Prime Minister Johnson of “trying to avoid this committee, because if that committee does prove with the evidence that he did mislead the house, that the ministerial code is clear that he has to resign. He wants this issue to go away. But it’s not going away. Because it fundamentally speaks to the integrity of the office of Prime Minister and the democracy of our country.”
Who will vote with the opposition?
Labour will put forward the motion on Thursday morning with a list of specific things Boris Johnson said that allegedly misled the House of Commons in December last year. The motion will propose that the Privileges Committee conducts the investigation and bring witnesses forward. Fully aware that this would be a pure political theater with damaging news coverage for the Conservatives, Johnson appealed to his party for unity. On Monday night, there was an extended meeting of the Conservatives that went down pretty well for Johnson.
As the vote goes down tomorrow, Boris Johnson will be out of the UK, in India. By the time he comes back to London on Friday night, the parliament will deliver their verdict. With so many Conservative party members eying to replace him, Boris Johnson is only buying himself time. His days at No. 10 Downing Street are numbered.