United Kingdom: Boris Johnson still weakened by the revelation of “Friday aperitifs” in Downing Street

After having to manage the wave of the coronavirus epidemic , Boris Johnson must now face the storm. That media but also political, fueled by the serial revelations about parties organized at 10 Downing Street while the country was under curfew, even confined. In this “partygate”, the 20 year-old curator apologized on Wednesday in Parliament for his presence at one of these parties in May 2020 claiming that he had thought that it was a work meeting.

But since then, other revelations have arisen, including a party in Downing Street, without Boris Johnson, on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021. Elisabeth II had attended the funeral of her husband alone in the chapel of Windsor Castle, a symbolic image of the rigor of the confinements. And this Saturday, the Mirror claims that every Friday, Downing Street workers ended their working week by sharing glasses of wine, a “longstanding tradition” which has continued despite the introduction of restrictions linked to the Covid- and prohibiting this type of meetings.

Criticized even in its majority

The anchored tabloid on the left, who has made political scandals his speciality, adds that staff had invested in a fridge to keep their bottles of alcohol cool and that the Prime Minister was aware of these gatherings. A spokesperson for Downing Street referred to the conclusions of an investigation led by a senior civil servant who will have to determine whether Boris Johnson and his collaborators broke the rules during the various events.

But anger is brewing, including in the Conservative ranks of Boris Johnson who is fighting to stay in power. According to the newspapers, his supporters have been called upon to tout his achievements, including the implementation of Brexit, and some of his aides will be asked to leave. The leader of the Labor opposition , Keir Starmer calls on him to resign. “We are witnessing the sad spectacle of a Prime Minister mired in deceit and trickery, unable to lead”, he must declare in a speech this Saturday.

But he himself was accused of hypocrisy due to photos showing him doing drinking a beer with a small group of Labor employees in an office last May, at a time when indoor meetings were banned except for work. When the photo was first published last year, his party argued that Keir Starmer had not violated any rule because he was in a “workplace”.