Boris Johnson forced to justify lockdown rules that he broke
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Boris Johnson has been battling ongoing calls for resignation since the partygate scandal emerged in late December 2021. But now, as Sue Gray’s report has revealed further damning evidence of the PM and Conservative party’s participation in illegal lockdown-busting events, opinion polls reflect increasing resentment towards Mr Johnson retaining his position.
The Metropolitan Police investigation into the illegal parties saw 126 fixed penalty notices issued to 83 people, including Mr Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
The much-anticipated report has now been published in full; consisting of 37 pages into 12 events, starting with a gathering in the No.10 garden on May 15, 2020, which saw Mr Johnson bring wine and cheese down from his own flat, and ended with two get-togethers again, at Downing Street, on April 16, 2021, the night before Prince Philip’s restricted funeral.
The report highlights “excessive alcohol consumption”, partying into the early hours of the morning, as well as “multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment” of security and cleaning staff.
Mr Johnson, the first Prime Minister in the UK to break the law, has issued an “unreserved apology” for his actions, stating he has been “humbled” and takes responsibility for the failings that “were his own”.
However, public opinion polls published by YouGov appear to be fairly unforgiving, with a majority voting in favour of his resignation.
The snap poll surveying over 2,700 people reveals 59 percent of Britons think Mr Johnson should resign, with just 30 percent saying he should remain as PM.
The proportion of poll voters who identified themselves as Conservative and agree the PM should resign sits at 27 percent, and 63 percent of the Conservative poll voters said he should remain.
Labour poll voters’ opinions widely vary from this, as 88 percent of these voters said Mr Johnson should resign, whereas just six percent said he should remain in his role.
When asked whether voters thought Mr Johnson knowingly lied about whether he broke lockdown rules, a total of 74 percent believe he did, and 13 percent believe he didn’t.
However, despite an overwhelming majority voting against the Prime Minister, the vast majority of voters believe the PM will not resign.
To view the full YouGov poll results, click here.
During this afternoon’s Prime Minister press conference, Sky journalist Beth Rigby posed the question of whether Mr Johnson had thought about resigning, to which Mr Johnson didn’t directly answer.
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He said: “I just repeat my point… I overwhelmingly feel it is my job to get on and deliver.
“No matter how bitter and painful the conclusions of this may be – and they are – and no matter how humbling they are, I’ve got to keep moving forward.”
The latest developments have spurred a number of Tory MPs to renew calls for Mr Johnson’s resignation, however, the PM still appears to be retaining support from the majority.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said lessons had been learned from partygate and it was now “time to move on”.
In a series of tweets posted around the same time as her Cabinet colleagues also sent messages of support for Boris Johnson, she tweeted: “The PM has made a full and unreserved apology.
“The public now want us to get on and deliver – dealing with the war in Ukraine, helping with the global rising cost of living which has resulted from the war and post pandemic.
“At each stage of the pandemic and war the PM has got the big calls right. We were the first to administer a vaccine rollout, first to help Ukraine with lethal aid. We have the lowest unemployment levels since 1974 and the GB is Covid restriction free and open for business.
“The Met has concluded its investigation. Sue Gray has published her report. Lessons have and are being learnt and it is time to move on, focus and keep on delivering.”
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