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‘I take responsibility’: Boris Johnson apologizes for lockdown party

Jan 12, 2022

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Headshot of <p class="author-name text-name1">Alex Peebles</p> />
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					<p class=Alex Peebles

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Update (Jan. 25, 2022): London police announced Tuesday it is investigating the 2020 Downing Street lockdown parties, including the party British Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted to attending earlier this month. According to the Metropolitan Police Service, the parties met the force’s criteria for investigating the “most serious and flagrant” breaches of COVID-19 rules.

“I should stress that the fact that we are now investigating does not, of course, mean that fixed penalty notices will necessarily be issued in every instance and to every person involved,” Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said Tuesday.

The police investigation is separate to an inquiry launched by civil servant Sue Gray. She was expected to release her findings this week. However, it wasn’t immediately clear whether Gray would have to delay the announcement of her findings because of the police investigation.

Original Story (Jan. 12, 2022): In an attempt to cool the hot water surrounding the so-called “party-gate” scandal, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologized to Parliament Wednesday. It was Johnson’s first acknowledgment that he attended a garden party while the United Kingdom was locked down in May of 2020. Johnson said he considered the event a work event to thank staff for their efforts during the pandemic.

“I regret very much that we did not do things differently that evening,” Johnson said Wednesday. “I take responsibility and I apologize.” He added that he understood the rage of people who “have made extraordinary sacrifices over the past 18 months … at the thought that people in Downing Street were not following those rules.”

While Johnson did apologize for the lockdown party, he stopped short of admitting fault and said the gathering might have been “technically” within the guidelines. Johnson’s appearance at parliament comes amid a wave of anger among the British public and British politicians alike.

“The prime minister pretended that he had been assured there were no parties. How that fits with his defence I do not know. Then the video landed, blowing the prime minister’s first defence out of the water,” opposition party leader Keir Starmer said in Parliament Wednesday. “So then he pretended, he pretended he was sickened and furious about the parties. Now it turns out he was at the parties all along. Can’t the prime minister see why the British public think he’s lying through his teeth?”

The backlash from Johnson’s lockdown party includes some members of his own political party calling for his resignation.

“I don’t think he can continue as leader of the Conservatives,” Douglas Ross, the leader of the party’s Scottish wing, said, adding that Johnson’s “position is no longer tenable.”

An inquiry into the lockdown party is underway. Johnson warned Parliament to not “pre-empt the outcome” of the inquiry.

“I know that it is his objective and he’s paid to try to remove me from office, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate that and I accept that,” Johnson said, addressing Starmer. “But may I humbly suggest to him that he should wait until the inquiry has concluded. He should study it for himself and I will certainly respond as appropriate and I hope that he does.”

Tags:

Boris Johnson // British Prime Minister: “I regret very much that we did not do things differently that evening, Mr. Speaker, as I’ve said and I take responsibility and I apologize.”}
Gwen Baumgardner: THAT’S BRITISH PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON — APOLOGIZING FOR A GARDEN PARTY HE ATTENDED… WITH HIS STAFF… AT THE HEIGHT OF COVID LOCKDOWNS.
IT HAPPENED IN MAY OF 2020, BUT ONLY CAME TO LIGHT THIS WEEK — WITH JOHNSON ADMITTING TO THE SO-CALLED “PARTY-GATE” SCANDAL AFTER GROWING PRESSURE WITHIN PARLIAMENT.
HE’S ACCUSED OF NOT FOLLOWING COVID PROTOCOLS *HE SET.
Keir Starmer // Opposition Party Leader: “It started with reports of boozy parties in Downing Street during lockdown. The prime minister pretended that he had been assured there were no parties. How that fits with his defence I do not know. Then the video landed, blowing the prime minister’s first defence out of the water. So then he pretended, he pretended he was sickened and furious about the parties. Now it turns out he was at the parties all along. Can’t the prime minister see why the British public think he’s lying through his teeth?”
Gwen Baumgardner: JOHNSON IS NOW FACING CALLS TO RESIGN.