'No Way Out' for Boris Johnson as PM's Ego Converges With Met Probe & Gray Report, Expert Claims
The Metropolitan Police Service has confirmed that it is currently probing eight of 12 parties that were allegedly held at 10 Downing Street amid the UK government-ordered COVID-19 lockdown. The scandal's progression to police inquiry has forced many UK lawmakers to question their support of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Moments after the inquiry was made public, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued an address to Parliament apologizing for the occurrence of several parties that were in violation of his government's own COVID-19 lockdown measures.
The Met probe was made public via the Gray report, a government review compiled by British civil servant Sue Gray that outlined 16 social events over the past two years of the pandemic. The Gray report noted that there was a "serious failure" to observe the standards expected of government officials, including the consumption of alcohol at the workplace.
"I know what the issue is," Johnson claimed. "It is whether this government can be trusted to deliver and I say yes we can be trusted, yes we can be trusted to deliver."
The prime minister's remarks did little to silence lawmakers wishing to see the full, unredacted Gray report.
UK Labour Party leader Keir Starmer highlighted that, unlike Johnson and his staff, those in the UK abided by the COVID-19 mitigation measures and lockdown guidelines. He emphasized that in many cases Brits were unable to be with their loved ones in their final moments.
The Labour Party leader applauded those who followed rules set by Johnson, as those individuals "saved the lives of people they will probably never meet."
Our national story about Covid is one of a country that stood up when it was tested.— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) January 31, 2022
But that will forever be tainted by the behaviour of this Conservative Prime Minister.
By routinely breaking the rules he set, Boris Johnson took the public for fools.
My full statement: pic.twitter.com/hxDECNrdpD
"By routinely breaking the rules he set, the prime minister took us all for fools. He held people sacrificing contempt. He showed himself unfit for office. His desperate denials since he was exposed have only made matters worse," Starmer said, accusing the prime minister of hiding behind the Metropolitan police probe.
While Johnson initially promised to take action following the release of the Gray report, action by or against the prime minister cannot occur until after the probe is wrapped by police.
"Once again, he is kicking the can into the future," Dr. Sarah Lieberman, senior lecturer in politics and international relations at Canterbury Christ Church University, told Sputnik.
Lieberman highlighted that Johnson has not stated whether he would resign over the Met's inquiry.
"He will, apparently stay on to fix the problems inherent in Downing Street–once again acting as though those problems are not largely due to his own decisions, behaviours, and lack of concern for laws and Parliamentary Conventions," Lieberman said.
Johnson's deflection tactics are widely considered to be a key element of his persona, built on bravado and being the center of attention, according to Alistair Jones, associate professor of politics at De Montfort University in the UK.
"There is no way out for Boris Johnson," Jones said, "but he will carry on regardless."
He argued that the upcoming elections may not swing in the Conservative Party's favor if Johnson remains in power.
It is unclear whether this is possible, however, as lawmakers would be able to rally the necessary 54-letter threshold for a confidence ballot, and then get more than half of the 359 Tory lawmakers to vote against the prime minister.