While the coronavirus restrictions continued in the UK, while the discussions about the parties held in the prime minister’s office continued, some photos of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, taken at one of the parties in question, leaked to the press.
Four photos released by British television channel ITV show Johnson toasting at an event held at the prime minister’s office in Downing Street.
The London Metropolitan Police Service (Met) completed its investigation into alcoholic parties on May 20, and announced that a total of 126 fines were imposed on 83 people as part of events held on eight different dates.
However, the Prime Minister’s Office had stated that Johnson would not receive new sentences as a result of the investigation.
Although he was not sentenced last week, the publication of new photos of him participating in parties also increases the political pressure on Johnson.
ITV said the published photos were taken at the farewell event for Prime Connection Manager Lee Cain on 13 November 2020.
In a statement to the BBC, it was said that at least one person was sentenced for attending the party in question. But this person is not Prime Minister Johnson.
While this situation was met with a reaction by the opposition parties, the Met is facing questions about why Johnson was not punished as a result of the investigation.
The Prime Minister was fined by the police on the grounds that he had attended a birthday party organized for him with his wife Carrie Johnson and Finance Minister Rishi Sunak at the Prime Minister’s Residence in June 2020, and therefore violated the quarantine rules applied in the Covid -19 pandemics.
Johnson, who was reported to have attended six of these events, known as “partygate” by the public, was expected to be given a new sentence following the Met investigation.
Johnson had previously told lawmakers that no Covid rules were violated at the Prime Minister’s Residence. Opposition parties accused Johnson of misdirecting parliament.
In his speech in the House of Commons, Johnson answered “No” to questions about whether he deliberately misled the parliament.
To deliberately mislead the parliament is against the rules that the prime minister and ministers must follow.
Minister, the minister or prime minister who violated this rule should resign. In addition to the opposition parties, some Conservative Party members are making invitations for Johnson to resign.
Johnson later confirmed in a statement that he attended the party for 25 minutes, but said he attended the party “thinking it was a business event”.
Johnson is also facing a new investigation into whether he misled parliament. A committee from the House of Commons will also begin its own investigation.
The other comprehensive investigation carried out by top government bureaucrat Sue Gray is expected to be announced soon.
The Spokesperson for the Office of the Prime Minister said that Gray will announce the results of the investigation at a parliamentary session with broad participation in the coming days, in which Johnson will also be present.
WHICH REFLECTIONS ARE GIVEN?
After the new photos leaked to the press, Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Staff Party, said in a statement that Johnson “shrugged the office of prime minister” and that “the British people deserve better.”
Rayner said, “Boris Johnson repeatedly said he didn’t know if the rules were broken. There is no doubt now that he was bragging. Boris Johnson, who set the rules, broke the rules himself later on,” Rayner said.
Daisy Cooper, Deputy General Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, said the scenes showed that Johnson was “making fools of the British people”.
Ian Blackford of the Scottish National Party (SNP) called Johnson a “charlatan and a liar”.
Both politicians urged Conservative Party lawmakers to remove Johnson from the mission.
Ruth Davidson, former head of the Scottish Conservative Party, said the prime minister’s position was “untenable”.
Conservative Party Member of Parliament Sir Roger Gale, to whom the Prime Minister is a member, said that Johnson should resign while criticizing the new images. “It’s clear that there was a party, that he attended and toasted it. So he misled us,” Gale told Times Radio.
Steve Baker from Johnson’s party also added the developments in a Twitter post. Baker shared a photo of a Covid patient with the words “Look into his eyes and tell him you never bend the rules” over his face.
General Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Douglas Ross, asked the Prime Minister to explain why he believed his behavior was “acceptable”.
On the other hand, Conservative MP Peter Bone stood behind Johnson and said, “I think we can all agree that this is a business event.”
Another Conservative Party member, Desmond Swayne, also argued that the activity was “not a crime”.
Photos released by ITV News show Johnson toasting his colleagues. Meanwhile, wine bottles, wine glasses and a container that looks like hand sanitizer enters the frame.
Curfews were in effect in England at the time the photo was taken. As per the rules, it was forbidden for two or more people to meet in closed places. However, if there was a valid business reason, an appearance was exceptionally allowed.
WHAT DID THE NEWSPAPERS SAY?
Controversy over the photos quickly made the headlines of almost all of Tuesday’s newspapers.
The Guardian newspaper reported that Johnson was facing a new thesis that he was saying bullshit to the parliament, while the Met was under pressure for not punishing the Prime Minister.
At the House of Commons session on December 8, 2020, Labor Party MP Catherine West asked Johnson whether a party was held at the prime minister’s residence on November 13, 2020, and Johnson answered “No”.
The Times newspaper, on the other hand, shared the dialogue between West and Johnson on the newly published photo with its readers.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the Met’s failure to impose any criminal sanctions on Johnson created controversy. An anonymous source speaking to the newspaper said that he could not figure out why Johnson was not sentenced while other people attending the party were punished and called the Met “a fiasco”.
I News newspaper, on the other hand, ran the headline “Party photos shoot the Prime Minister”. The newspaper stated that the photos could reflect the people at Johnson’s party.
Metro newspaper, “How did Boris not get punished for this toast?” posed the question.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror evaluated newspaper, a news source the Prime Minister’s not being questioned by the police about the incident, “especially while he was toasting”, as “incredible”.
The Daily Express ironically points out the Met’s decision to the photo, saying, “There’s nothing to see here. Police say Boris didn’t break the rules.”
The Sun newspaper shared the photo on its front page with the words “Just here for a toast”.