PMQs: Boris Johnson apologises for party on May 20th
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Writing in magazine Stern yesterday (Tuesday), editor Niels Kruse said: “This could be his final scandal.” The comments come as Boris Johnson today apologised to the House of Commons for attending a “socially distanced drinks” in the Downing Street with members of staff in May 2020, while the country was still in lockdown and social contact severely limited.
Mr Kruse wrote: “When are the nine lives of the scandal-ridden Boris Johnson used up?”
He added: “Evil tongues suspect that sinister forces are working on getting rid of Boris Johnson.
“However, the Prime Minister is proving to be very stubborn, even though his permanent misery is his own fault.”
The German magazine noted other scandals Mr Johnson had been embroiled in recently, including the previous so-called “Partygate” concerning allegations of a Christmas quiz for Downing Street staff in 2020 involving the Prime Minister.
It also made mention of the controversial redecoration of the Downing Street flat, which was found to have been done with the use of £52,000 from Tory party donor Lord Brownlow.
Mr Johnson says he has now covered all the costs out of his own pocket.
Mr Kruse commented: “The next few days will show how much support the scandal-ridden head of Government still has in his party.
“Because even the [right] wing, for whom Brexit was not tough enough, seems to be annoyed by their Prime Minister.
“In any case, his hope of starting the new year with a new impetus and better popularity ratings has for now disappeared.”
The drinks held on May 20, 2020, first came to light last Friday, when former Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings posted a blog claiming that he had urged Mr Johnson to not let the event go ahead.
ITV News was later given an image of an email invitation from Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary, to over 100 members of staff, as well as Mr and Mrs Johnson.
Addressing the Commons at noon today (Wednesday) for Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson admitted he had attended the gathering on May 20, 2020, and apologised for doing so.
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He said he had spent about 25 minutes at the event, so that he could “thank groups of staff” for their hard work.
The Prime Minister claimed that he had thought at the time that the gathering had been a work meeting.
Meeting in the Downing Street garden was said to be common practice at the time to minimise the spread of Covid.
But he added: “With hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside.
“I should have found some other way to thank them, and I should have recognised that – even if it could have been said technically to fall within the guidance – there would be millions and millions of people who simply would not see it that way.”
Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition, said: “There we have it. After months of deceit and deception, the pathetic spectacle of a man who has run out of road.
“His defence that he didn’t realise he was at a party is so ridiculous that it’s actually offensive to the British public.
“He’s finally been forced to admit what everyone knew, that when the whole country was locked down, he was hosting boozy parties in Downing Street.
“Is he now going to do the decent thing and resign?”
Mr Johnson faced calls from other opposition MPs to resign. Sir Keir noted that other members of his staff had fallen on their sword when found to have broken or made light of the rules.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg
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