Johnson from UK apologizes for attending lockdown party

LONDON (AP) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologized on Wednesday for attending a garden party during the UK coronavirus shutdown in 2020, …

LONDON (AP) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologized on Wednesday for attending a garden party during the coronavirus shutdown in Britain in 2020, saying there were things his government ‘did’ had not understood well ”.

Johnson is facing a wave of anger from the public and politicians over allegations that he and his staff flouted pandemic restrictions by socializing during his ban. Some in his Conservative Party say he should step down if he fails to quell the fury.

Johnson first admitted on Wednesday that he attended the May 2020 garden party in his Downing Street office, although he said he considered it a professional event to thank the staff for their efforts during the pandemic.

“I want to apologize.… Looking back, I should have sent everyone back inside,” Johnson told House of Commons lawmakers.

Opponents and allies have called on Johnson to speak candidly about the ‘Bring your own booze’ party, held when Britain was under a tight lockdown imposed by Johnson to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

An invitation to the “drinks at social distance” rally was emailed to around 100 people by a senior official of the Prime Minister. At the time, the law prohibited Britons from meeting more than one person outside their home.

Johnson’s lunchtime appearance at the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session in the House of Commons was his first public appearance since party details were released.

The Prime Minister displayed a tone of contrition but urged people to await the findings of an investigation by senior official Sue Gray into several parts alleged by government staff.

Opposition Labor Party leader Keir Starmer said Johnson’s statement was “a pathetic spectacle of a man with no more roads.

“His defense… that he didn’t realize he was at a party is so ridiculous it’s actually offensive to the British public,” Starmer said. “He was finally forced to admit what everyone knew, that when the whole country was locked up he had drunken parties in Downing Street. Is he now going to do the right thing and quit? “

The party scandal adds to a growing list of problems for Johnson.

The dubbed ‘partygate’ scandal became the biggest crisis in Johnson’s two-and-a-half years in office. During the UK’s first lockdown, which began in March 2020 and lasted for over two months, almost all gatherings were banned. Millions of people have been cut off from friends and family, and even prevented from visiting dying relatives in hospitals. Thousands of people have been fined by police for violating the ban on gatherings.

So there was widespread anger at claims that Johnson’s Tory government flouted the rules it had imposed on the rest of the country by hosting garden parties, Christmas reunions and office quiz nights in Downing Street, which is both the home of the Prime Minister and his office.

Opposition politicians are calling for Johnson’s resignation. More worrying for the Prime Minister, many in his own party are increasingly concerned about Johnson’s judgment and leadership.

The Tories picked Johnson as their leader in 2019 for his optimistic demeanor and popular touch, and despite the serial allegations of rule breaking and dishonesty that have followed him throughout his dual career as a journalist and politician. The choice seemed justified when it led the party to a big electoral victory in December of the same year.

But support inside the party is eroded by dissatisfaction with the lingering pandemic restrictions, which some conservatives see as draconian. He also faces concerns about his judgment after a series of allegations of financial and ethical misconduct against him and his government.

Conservatives have a habit of ousting leaders if they become a handicap – and a surprising recent loss in a by-election for a riding the party has occupied for more than a century has heightened their nervousness.

Conservative lawmaker Christian Wakeford urged Johnson not to “stand up for the indefensible”.

“It’s embarrassing and the worst part is that it further erodes confidence in politics when it is already weak,” Wakeford wrote on Twitter. “We need openness, trust and honesty in our politics more than ever, and it starts at the top! “

Another Tory lawmaker, Tobias Ellwood, said Johnson had to apologize and “show some contrition” if he was to weather the storm.

“We can’t let it drift, that’s not an option,” he told Sky News.

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