We can’t ‘pass over’ Partygate scandal with PM – UK opposition


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Boris Johnson is the first prime minister to break law in office, Keir Starmer claims

Labour leader Keir Starmer has defended his party’s focus on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s violation of lockdown rules. During a Sunday BBC interview, the politician argued Johnson’s own party is equally sick of its leader, declaring the PM’s “authority to lead the country is shot through.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer has defended his party’s focus on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s violation of lockdown rules during a Sunday BBC interview. The politician argued Johnson’s own party is equally sick of its leader, declaring the PM’s “authority to lead the country is shot through.”

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. © Getty Images / Stefan Rousseau
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Labour couldn’t just gloss over Johnson’s violations, Starmer noted, pointing out: “They have been found to have broken the law – the criminal law at that. No other prime minister in the history of our country has ever been found to have broken the law in office before. And I don’t think we can just pass over it.

Johnson’s own party “don’t really want to defend him because they’re sick of defending the indefensible,” Starmer continued, echoing the words of conservative MP William Wragg, who recently submitted a letter of no confidence in Johnson’s leadership. 

Starmer also argued that Johnson’s own party was turning on him as some senior conservative MPs, including Mark Harper and Steve Baker, have called for his ouster. Harper specifically told the prime minister he was “unworthy” of holding the office, while Baker openly asked Johnson to step down last week, declaring “the gig is up.

Johnson has already admitted to attending the controversial and illegal May 2020 gathering, though he insists he believed the event, which was described on his calendar as a “socially distanced drinks” party, was a “work event.” However, it remains unclear how much he has been fined or otherwise punished over the incident. At least one person involved has received a Fixed Penalty Notice related to the party, though 10 Downing revealed on Sunday that Johnson himself had not been fined.

The Metropolitan police have refused to make public how many other fines they have issued in relation to Partygate until after the elections in May. Meanwhile, many in Johnson’s party are struggling to distance themselves from him, lest the scandal hurt their chances in the upcoming vote. “A broomstick would be better than what we have at the moment,” one MP quipped, suggesting any leader would be preferable to the scandal-plagued Johnson. 

READ MORE: Boris Johnson questioned under police caution in UK first – media

However, conservative party co-chair Oliver Dowden has come to Johnson’s defense, claiming there is a “very very strong case for him remaining in office.” The PM had gotten “those big calls right” and led with “real energy and determination,” Dowden insisted, suggesting that changing leadership at this point would be “dearly damaging to this country.” 


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