Factbox-From sleaze scandal to lockdown parties: trying times for UK PM Johnson

 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership credentials have been badly tarnished by controversies and missteps in recent months, leading to calls from some of his own lawmakers for him to resign.

Below are some of the troubles Johnson has faced:

Oct. 26 – Lawmaker guilty of paid lobbying

Conservative lawmaker and former minister Owen Paterson faces a 30-day suspension after parliament’s standards committee found he had committed an “egregious case of paid advocacy”.

Nov. 3 – Government changes rules to save lawmaker

Johnson’s Conservatives are accused of corruption after they vote to halt Paterson’s suspension and force through an overhaul of the process of investigating lawmakers.

Nov. 4 – U-turn on Paterson

After unhappiness in his own party and newspaper headlines accusing Johnson’s administration of sleaze, the government U-turns on the plans and Paterson quits parliament.

Nov. 22 – Peppa Pig speech

After losing his place during a speech, Johnson regales business leaders with an anecdote about visiting a Peppa Pig children’s theme park, prompting some to raise concerns about his leadership.

Nov. 30 – Lockdown Christmas party report

The Mirror newspaper publishes the first of many media reports about Christmas parties in government departments, including Johnson’s Downing Street office, in December 2020, when such gatherings were banned under COVID-19 restrictions.

Dec. 7 – Video of staff joking about party

Hours after Johnson says he is satisfied no COVID rules were broken, ITV (LON:ITV) publishes a leaked video showing his staff joking about a Downing Street gathering during a mock news conference.

Dec. 8 – Johnson apologises, aide resigns

Johnson apologises for the video, saying he is furious. Allegra Stratton, most recently Johnson’s COP26 spokeswoman but his press secretary at the time of the footage, resigns.

Dec. 9 – Conservatives fined over apartment refurbishment

The Conservatives are fined 17,800 pounds ($23,500) by the electoral watchdog for failing to accurately report a donation that helped fund a luxury refurbishment of Johnson’s official residence.

Dec. 14 – Conservative lawmakers rebel

More than 100 Conservatives vote against new coronavirus restrictions, dealing a blow to Johnson’s authority.

Dec. 17 – The Conservatives lose a parliamentary seat

Johnson’s Conservatives lose an election to fill Paterson’s vacant seat, substantiating fears among some that the party’s reputation and electoral prospects are suffering.

Dec. 17 – Lead investigator steps down

Britain’s top civil servant, Simon Case, steps down from leading an investigation into the alleged parties after it emerges an event was held in his own office. Senior civil servant Sue Gray takes over the inquiry.

Dec. 18 – Brexit minister resigns

Brexit minister David Frost, an architect of Johnson’s tumultuous Brexit strategy, resigns, saying he is disillusioned with the government’s direction.

Dec. 19 – Garden party photo published

The Guardian newspaper publishes a photograph of Johnson and more than a dozen others drinking wine in the Downing Street garden that it said was taken during lockdown on May 15, 2020.

Jan. 12 – PM says he attended lockdown gathering

Johnson says he attended a gathering in the Downing Street garden on May 20, 2020 but believed it to be a work event.

Broadcaster ITV say the senior aide who organised the event signed off an invitation email “bring your own booze”.

Jan. 14 – PM apologises to Buckingham Palace

Johnson’s office apologises to Queen Elizabeth after it emerged staff partied in Downing Street on the eve of her husband Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021, when mixing indoors was banned.

Jan. 24 – Report of Johnson birthday gathering

ITV says up to 30 people attended a June 2020 event at which Johnson was presented with a cake while his wife led staff in singing ‘Happy Birthday’. Johnson’s office confirm staff gathered briefly after a meeting but dispute it was a party.

Jan. 25 – Police investigation

Police say they are investigating lockdown events that took place in Downing Street and other government departments after receiving information from Gray’s inquiry.

Jan. 31 – Gray publishes initial findings

Gray publishes a limited report, curtailed by the ongoing police investigation. It condemns some of the behaviour in government as “difficult to justify” and says some of the events should not have taken place. Johnson says sorry.

Jan. 31 – Jimmy Savile accusation

Johnson falsely accuses opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, of failing to prosecute late sex offender Jimmy Savile.

Feb. 3 – Johnson clarifies remarks about Savile

Following calls from opponents and some of his Conservatives to withdraw his Savile remarks, Johnson says he wants to clarify them. His head of policy quits, saying the Savile barb was a “scurrilous accusation”.

Feb. 7 – Starmer hounded by protesters

Starmer is confronted by angry protesters, some of whom reference Savile, prompting fresh pressure on Johnson to withdraw his claim.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *