Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Boris Johnson came under increasing pressure on Wednesday to explain whether he attended a Downing Street party that violated coronavirus restrictions in a “make or break” appearance in the House of Commons.

Johnson will appear at Prime Minister’s questions at lunch and will be asked by MPs to explain his role in a rally held on May 20, 2020 in the number 10 garden, where guests were asked to “bring your own drink”. Two eyewitnesses said he was present.

Johnson declined to answer questions about his role in the party, referring instead to an investigation led by Sue Gray, a senior government official investigating a series of rallies across Whitehall during the pandemic. But the prime minister’s refusal to explain his presence has led to growing anger in the Conservative party.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer is expected to ask a series of “yes or no” questions about whether Johnson attended the party. The opposition leader, who had coronavirus for the past week, Wednesday tested negative and is therefore allowed to leave isolation.

In a sign of the seriousness of the crisis engulfing the government, no minister was presented at the morning broadcast rounds to defend Johnson’s position.

Senior Tories said Johnson’s future would depend on how he performed in parliament. “It really is a make-or-break look,” one veteran MP said. “If it gets the tone of this wrong, he may be done.”

Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, called on the Prime Minister to resign over the party issue. “Boris Johnson is now unable to lead our country through this public health crisis. “I think he is actually a threat to the health of the nation, because no one will do anything he said, because he has now shown that he was deceitful.”

Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the Labor Party, said Johnson “can no longer hide” behind Gray’s investigation and must answer questions about the party. “He must finally come clean and answer the question: has he violated the lock-up rules that he ordered the rest of us to follow. Yes or no? “

Anger is growing within the Conservative party over Johnson’s alleged attendance at the rally. Sixteen MPs have publicly spoken out against Number 10’s position on the parties, while others have said that the chances of him facing a no-confidence vote are increasing.

Christian Wakefield, Tory MP for Bury South, said he could not “defend the indefensible”. He wrote on Twitter that the situation is “embarrassing and what is worse is that it further erodes confidence in politics when it is already low. We now need more than ever openness, trust and honesty in our politics and it starts from the top. ”

Nigel Mills, a Tory MP from the backbench, told the BBC, “the idea that during the worst of times – when you could only see one other person – that the people organizing the rules were having a party was just unacceptable. It is indefensible. “

Some members of the government said the vote among ministers was divided. “It’s torn between those who think ‘hold on tight and it will be okay’ and those who are really worried,” said one ministerial assistant.

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