Prime Minister Boris Johnson attended gatherings during coronavirus lockdowns. Leaders from his own party slammed Johnson in the Parliament for "partying" during the Covid-induced lockdown.
The British public takes the age-old adage of “practice what you preach” seriously and it’s evident again during the ongoing ‘partygate’ scandal. For months now, the British media has been reporting how Prime Minister Boris Johnson attended parties during the COVID-19 lockdowns. According to reports, these gatherings -- being widely criticised by the public -- were attended by the government staff as well.
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Hosting parties at Downing Street at a time when the general public was not allowed free movement in an outdoor setting has not gone down well with the British public. One particular gathering held in May 2020 (during the peak of the first lockdown) has snared Johnson. The UK PM allegedly attended a “bring your own booze” party in Downing Street’s garden where 100 others were invited. This not only led to public backlash but also condemnation from the members of his Conservative Party.
Not just the Opposition but leaders from his own party slammed Johnson in the Parliament for ‘partying’ during the pandemic-necessitated lockdowns. Following the sharp criticism, Johnson told lawmakers that he had only attended the party for 25 minutes to “thank groups of staff” for their hard work. The UK PM added that he “believed implicitly that party was a work event”.
However, rather than pacifying, Johnson's explanation further angered the people. Consequently, Conservative lawmakers started sending letters to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the influential “1922 Committee”, urging him to hold a vote of confidence for Johnson to prove his legitimacy as the prime minister.
The 1922 Committee -- actually formed in 1923 -- is a parliamentary group that oversees Conservative Party leadership challenges. The group is formed of backbench Conservative lawmakers who do not head government ministries or departments. To trigger a vote of confidence against a leader, the 1922 Committee chairman must get letters from at least 15 percent of the Conservative MPs.
Unfortunately for Johnson, Sir Graham Brady has received letters from 54 Conservative lawmakers (out of the total 360 at present) enabling him to hold a vote of confidence. “The threshold of 15 percent of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative Party has been exceeded,” said Sir Brady.
The vote of confidence against Johnson will take place between 6 pm and 8 pm (British time or GMT) today. The exercise will immediately be followed by the counting of ballots. Subsequently, the results would be announced. If Johnson loses the vote of confidence, he will have to step down from the post of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)