Because of garden party: Johnson apologizes “heartily”
Status: 12.01.2022 3:50 p.m.
There have been repeated reports of violations by the British government of its own lockdown regulations. Now Premier Johnson has for the first time admitted participating in a garden party in May 2020 – and apologized for it.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted attending the garden party for the first time in May 2020. He “apologized heartily” to MPs in London and said he took responsibility for the “mistakes” that were made.
Johnson’s private secretary had emailed around 100 people an invitation to the garden party. “Bring your own alcohol,” the email said. At that time, however, people in Great Britain were allowed to meet a maximum of one other person from outside their own household.
Johnson speaks of “work meetings”
Johnson protested in the House of Commons that he had not noticed any rule break. “When I went to this garden shortly after 6:00 p.m. on May 20, 2020 to thank groups of staff before going back to my office 25 minutes later to continue working, I strongly believed this was a working meeting” said the prime minister. In retrospect, however, he should have acted differently.
The opposition responded with laughter. For the first time, Labor leader Keir Starmer called on the prime minister to resign. Johnson was a man without shame, said the opposition leader. “The party’s over, Prime Minister,” said Starmer. “The only question is, will the British public kick him out, will his party kick him out, or will he do the decent thing and step down?”
The investigation is ongoing
Johnson rejected the calls for resignation. But he can understand that people are angry about “that people on Downing Street do not obey the rules.” The prime minister has been under pressure for weeks about his administration’s behavior during the lockdown. In December 2020 there was also said to have been a Christmas party in the seat of government – also in the middle of Lockdwon. One counselor had to resign because of this.
Johnson has now called for the results of an investigation into several alleged parties by government employees with which lockdown rules are said to have been violated. The officer Sue Gray is investigating the allegations. She is expected to report back by the end of the month.
The prime minister under pressure
The British are now clearly annoyed by their prime minister. Labor has been ahead in the polls for weeks. In a poll by YouGov on Tuesday, 56 percent of people answered that the prime minister had to resign.
Many feel kidnapped, like this woman who was not allowed to go to the hospital: “I wasn’t allowed to visit my husband, he had cancer. A serious illness. And I couldn’t get in.” It hurts, said the BBC’s wife, and Boris Johnson always gets away with it.
It remains to be seen whether this will also be the case this time. Even party friends turn away. And conservative papers like the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, which are close to him, criticize Johnson.
With information from Christoph Prössl, ARD-Studio London
Johnson apologizes for attending a party that wasn’t
Gabi Biesinger, ARD London, 12.1.2022 · 14:02