Boris Johnson under more pressure over new lockdown ‘Partygate’ photos
At the time, indoor social mixing was banned due to a spike in Covid-19 cases, and no more than two people were allowed to meet outside.
The new images have led to a renewed wave of outrage from opposition lawmakers, and from some colleagues in Johnson’s own Conservative party.
“Boris Johnson said repeatedly that he knew nothing about law-breaking — there’s no doubt now, he lied,” Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner said. “The Prime Minister has demeaned his office. He made the rules, and then broke them. The British people deserve better.”
“No, but I am sure that whatever happened, the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times,” Johnson replied.
Intentionally misleading the House of Commons is a breach of the British government’s ministerial code, and usually leads to a resignation.
“I believe that the PM has misled the (House of Commons) from the despatch box. That is a resignation issue,” Conservative MP Roger Gale wrote on Twitter.
The pictures have also led to scrutiny of the Metropolitan Police, whose own probe into Downing Street partying delayed Gray’s investigation, after officers decided not to fine Johnson for the event seen in the latest images.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday it was important “police explain why they’ve reached the conclusions they have.” And former Conservative attorney general Dominic Grieve told the BBC that officers’ decision to clear Johnson for the event was “incomprehensible.”
But Downing Street told CNN the police had access to photographs and other evidence during their investigation. They added in a statement: “The Met have concluded their investigation and Sue Gray will publish her report in the coming days, at which point the Prime Minister will address Parliament in full.”
Johnson has previously apologized for the lockdown parties and has vowed to make changes to the Downing Street operation.
The scandal has tarnished Johnson’s standing in opinion polls and left his job security on a precipice for several months.
Conservative MPs have so far declined to trigger a vote of no confidence which, if passed, could force Johnson from office. But a disappointing set of local election results last month, and two difficult parliamentary by-elections scheduled for June, have maintained scrutiny on the UK PM’s leadership.
CNN’s Radina Gigova contributed reporting.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long added to this report.