The scandal of a new party in Downing Street in the heat of pandemic corners Boris Johnson | International

Boris Johnson, in November 2020, followed by his private secretary, Martin Reynolds, author of the email inviting 100 people to a party in Downing Street.
Boris Johnson, in November 2020, followed by his private secretary, Martin Reynolds, author of the email inviting 100 people to a party in Downing Street.JUSTIN TALLIS (AFP)

Boris Johnson’s mistakes, half-truths and excuses have been returning in recent weeks, to deploy a strategy of harassment and demolition against the conservative politician. The Downing Street party scandal, when the rest of the country was in severe lockdown from the pandemic, accumulates strong evidence with each passing day. And the last of those parties, celebrated on May 20 – when in all of England it was forbidden for more than two people from different coexistence groups to get together abroad – comes with an added burden, because there are many witnesses who affirm that they were in she Johnson and her partner, Carrie.

The ITV television network has had access to the email of the Prime Minister’s private secretary, Martin Reynolds, in which he invited about 100 people to a private party in the Downing Street gardens: “Hello everyone, after what It has been a period of a lot of work, I thought it would be good to take advantage of this wonderful time and have a few drinks, with due social distance, in the garden of Number 10 [de Downing Street] this afternoon. Join us starting at six in the afternoon, and bring your own alcohol! ”, Wrote the high official. An invitation that puts him in the spotlight of Sue Gray, second permanent secretary in the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office, into the whole holiday scandal investigation. His boss, and head of the British Public Administration, Simon Case, had to abandon the investigation when it was revealed that one of the controversial events had also taken place in his office.

The Metropolitan Police, known as New Scotland Yard, have asked Gray’s office for information as a first step before deciding whether to formally open an investigation into the matter. “The Metropolitan Police Service is already aware of the widely disseminated information, in reference to alleged violations of the protective regulations of public health, which occurred on May 20, 2020 in Downing Street, and is in contact with the Cabinet Office ”, Has assured a police spokesman.

At least 40 of the recipients of the email turned out for the party, of which in British slang they are called BYOB. Bring Your Own Bottle: bring your own bottle). Among them were, according to various witnesses, both Johnson and his then-girlfriend, Carrie Symonds. When the media tried on Monday to get the prime minister to confirm or deny his presence at the party, the conservative politician limited himself to throwing balls out and pointing to the ongoing investigations: “There is an independent process underway analyzing all this, in front of which there’s Sue Gray. I can not comment further on this matter, ”Johnson shielded.

The descriptions of the party that have been collected by the different British media speak of long picnic tables distributed throughout the Downing Street garden, with drinks, chips and other types of snacks typical of an outdoor snack. But above all, plenty of alcohol. That same day, an hour later, in the almost daily press conference in which the ministers took turns to report the news and data of the pandemic, the then head of Culture, Oliver Dowden, once again recalled the rules to citizens: “They can only meet with a person from outside their home in the outdoors, in a public place, and keeping two meters away,” emphasized the politician, ignorant of the party that took place in the garden of the main headquarters of the British Government.

Cummings Revenge

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Much of Johnson’s current misfortunes, undoubtedly the result of his own actions, stem from a dangerous, almost deadly, revenge: that of his star adviser and main Brexit ideologue, Dominic Cummings, forced to leave through the back door Downing Street in November 2020, following a prolonged confrontation with Johnson’s wife (also a former Conservative Party communication adviser).

Cummings retains sensitive and private information from the early months of the pandemic that he now leaks at his own convenience. “On Wednesday May 20, a week after the first photo [en la que Johnson y él parecían celebrar una reunión de trabajo en una mesa de la terraza exterior de Downing Street], a senior official of Number 10 [en referencia a Reynolds] invited the staff to drink in the garden, with due social distance. I, and at least one other advisor, affirmed that all this was against the rules and should not be celebrated, “Cummings assured this weekend on his blog. The former adviser, who always recounts the Downing Street disasters from a moralistic perspective in which he was always on the right side, still has the ability to hurt Johnson. His desire for revenge is taken for granted, but so far he has never lied about the facts revealed.

The Labor opposition has charged hard against Johnson, whom it accuses of “trying to make officials fall because of their own mistakes”, as the number two of the main opposition party, Angela Rayner, has pointed out. Conservative deputies, who began to organize before the end of the year to show their rejection of the scandals of the Johnson government, have again rebelled with concern when they learn that the police are considering opening an investigation into the party. Sue Gray has a reputation for being tough and professional, and everyone is waiting to see how many heads roll once she publishes the findings of her investigation, but some voices have demanded a political response from the prime minister: “I’m going to say this from a kind way. It is not at all clear why the prime minister needs to wait for the publication of Sue Gray’s report to find out if he himself was at a party in his own garden, “wrote on Twitter Gavin Barwell, who was chief of staff of the predecessor of Johnson in office, Theresa May.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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