UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is facing fresh questions after photos of him drinking at an event during a Covid lockdown were published.
The pictures, released by ITV News, are believed to show the Prime Minister present at a party on November 13, 2020. According to circulating reports, at least one person who attended the event was fined, but the PM was not.
The released photos have drawn calls for the Metropolitan Police to explain why Mr. Johnson did not receive a fine. But a government source revealed to the media that the photos may have been taken by the Official No.10 Photographer and as such, proved Mr. Johnson was there in a work capacity.
According to a government source, Senior Civil Servant, Sue Gray, may hand her report on parties to Downing Street on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, which will be followed by a statement in Parliament and a press conference by the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, it is reported that the Police investigated two events in Downing Street on November 13, 2020, and when a Labour MP asked in Parliament whether a party took place on the said date, Mr. Johnson responded “no”, adding that “I’m sure…all the rules were followed”.
Reactions by Some MPs After the Leaked Photos
Responding to the leaks, Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth, said it would be difficult for the Prime Minister to reconcile his statement to Parliament, that no party took place, looking at the pictures circulating. In effect, he called on Tory Members of Parliament to remove the Prime Minister from office.
The Peer and Former Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, intimated that the Prime Minister lied to Parliament and his position was now untenable. A Senior Conservative, Tom Tugendhat, was also critical about the release, telling the media that: “Seriousness in government matters. It costs us all. And I’m afraid this just doesn’t look serious”. Former Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland in an interview with a British-based radio station, said “If there’s a deliberate lie, I can’t see how anybody, including this Prime Minister, can continue”.
“There are things we say honestly and genuinely at the time that we believe to be true… now that’s one thing. Going and deliberately saying X is Y, knowing that is not the case, is of course, beyond the pale.”Former Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland
But Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, is of the view that while he found the picture “difficult to look at”, he averred the presence of the PM’s Ministerial Red Box “suggests he was probably on his way through. I think he’s popped down there to raise a glass and say thank you to a long-term member of staff who is leaving”, he said, adding that the Police would have “thoroughly investigated” the event. He also said the Prime Minister was “mortified”.
However, a No.10 Spokeswoman said the Prime Minister would address Parliament “in full” after Senior Civil Servant, Sue Gray, publish her report on the gatherings “in the coming days”. But, there is support for the Prime Minister from Conservative backbench MP, Sir Desmond Swayne, who said he believes it was a “work do”, adding “that’s what people do at work”.
“Now, I understand entirely the public anguish at a time when they were locked down and they were not supposed to be together, but there was clearly a distinction between the workplace, where people work together and are effectively in a bubble, and what was taking place outside.”Conservative backbench MP, Sir Desmond Swayne