Boris Johnson Refuses To Quit Despite Partygate Scandal As Tories Fume
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, rejected opposition calls to resign for attending lockdown parties but accepted that a rule that ministers should lose their jobs if they had knowingly misled parliament applied to him, William James and Elizabeth Piper reported for Reuters.
Photo Insert: Much like the coronavirus, the British Prime Minister is refusing to go away.
Johnson, who in 2019 won the biggest Conservative majority in more than 30 years, is braced for the publication of an official investigation into claims that there were multiple boozy Downing Street parties during lockdowns.
He told parliament no rules were broken. It was not immediately clear when the results of that investigation by Cabinet Office official Sue Gray would be published, especially as police have opened their own investigation.
Asked by the opposition Labor Party Keir Starmer leader if the ministerial code, which says that ministers who had knowingly misled parliament should offer to resign, applied to him Johnson said: Of course. "If he'd misled parliament, he must resign," Starmer told parliament. "Will you now resign?" Johnson replied emphatically: "No."
He said he could not speak about investigations into the alleged parties. Johnson said his government was focused on driving economic growth and leading the Western response to the Ukraine crisis.
Johnson has given a variety of explanations about the parties: First he said no rules had been broken but then he apologized to the British people for the apparent hypocrisy of such gatherings. He has denied an allegation he was warned that a "bring your own booze" lockdown gathering on May 20, 2020, which he says he thought was a work event, was inappropriate.
ITV reported on Monday that Johnson and his now-wife Carrie had attended a surprise party of up to 30 people for his birthday in the Cabinet Room at Downing Street in June 2020, when indoor gatherings were banned.