Why were there parties (and why is that bad)?
A little back to the situation in Britain between May 2020 and April 2021, most of the time during this period there was a severe lockdown in that country due to corona. People had to stay at home as much as possible, could not visit family in the hospital and were only allowed to meet with one other person. That meeting had to be done outside.
Organizing parties with dozens of people was therefore certainly not the intention during that period. People who work for Johnson or other British cabinet members did that anyway.
A total of twelve parties has been investigated. This includes Boris Johnsons birthday and a pub quiz to start the Christmas holiday. In recent times, the British media has also been a lot about a bring your own booze party in Johnsons garden, a party where you had to bring your own booze.
What happened when those parties became known?
When the first reports of parties were leaked to the media, many other politicians and Brits immediately responded very angry. But Prime Minister Johnson first denied parties had been there.
Until an invitation to the bring your own booze party leaked. At that time, it became clear that there would be a political investigation into the parties. Johnson said he didnt know about that party and was very upset with the employees who had been there.
He didnt last that too long. Because it soon became clear that Johnson himself had also been at several parties. At first, he said that he thought it was work gatherings, then that he “didnt know this was not allowed.”
Even before the political investigation was finished, the British police announced that they will also investigate the parties. Breaking the corona rules can be punishable, just like in the Netherlands. We have to wait a little longer for that investigation. The political investigation was finished on Monday.
And so the conclusions in it are hard. “This is very difficult to defend,” says lead investigator Sue Gray. “Too much alcohol has been used, thats never okay at work. The people who were at these parties have shown that they dont meet the high standards you need to be able to work in these positions.”
Also, the investigation is hard for Johnson: “Some parties would not have liked, others not so big. The leader has failed to assess and intervene.”
Boris Johnson responded to the investigation in the British House of Representatives today and said sorry. “I understand that this is not possible, it has been handled incorrectly and I want to fix that myself. I want to improve the situation so that this can never happen again.”
Politicians from other parties have said theyd rather Johnson quit as Prime Minister. So he does not intend to do that himself, yet.
But that doesnt mean hes completely out of trouble. If a majority of parliament thinks he should leave, they can also fire him themselves. Enough people in his own party must also be tired of him for that.
Not everyone in his party supports Johnson anymore, but its just as exciting if its enough to fire him.
If that majority is not there, there is also the police investigation that can get him even further into trouble. So its only in a few weeks that we probably really know if Johnson can remain Prime Minister.