LONDON. – British newspapers yesterday piled the pressure on Boris Johnson as the prime minister fought for his political life over the scandal of the “bring your own booze” lockdown-era party at Downing Street.
The Mirror’s banner headline was “Disgrace”, set below a picture of Johnson giving his humiliating apology to the Commons for “not realising” the event in the back garden of 10 Downing Street on 20 May 2020 was a party. In a lengthy subhead, the Mirror said: “First, Johnson said no rules were broken … then he said he didn’t know about any parties … now he admits he was at one of them … but didn’t realise it was a party.”
The Guardian’s main headline was “PM’s future on knife-edge after No 10 party apology”, and reported that there was widespread “derision” over his claim that he did not realise he was attending a party.
Times also carried a picture of a grim-faced Johnson in the Commons and the headline “Defiant PM refuses to quit as polls slip further”, while the FT had “Johnson faces Tory calls to quit after attending lockdown party.”
Meanwhile, the PM cancelled a visit to Lancashire after a family member tested positive for coronavirus.
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross and other senior backbenchers have urged Johnson to stand down.
But cabinet ministers have urged MPs to wait for the outcome of an inquiry into alleged Covid-rule breaking at No 10.
And Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg dismissed Ross as a “lightweight”.
Ross has written to the 1922 Committee, which oversees Tory leadership contests, to say he has no confidence in the prime minister.
Memes mocking Boris Johnson’s claim that a ‘bring your own booze’ party in the Downing Street garden was a ‘work event’ are continuing to flood social media.
The Prime Minister finally admitted yesterday that he went to a ‘party’ in No10’s garden at the height of lockdown in May 2020 – but argued he thought it was a ‘work event’ and ‘technically’ within the rules.
The internet erupted with #workevent hashtags poking fun at Mr Johnson, with one showing a shopping aisle filled with booze alongside the caption: ‘Anyone need anything from the stationery cupboard?’
Another meme showed a photoshopped poster of the comedy-drama film 24 Hour Party People, with the word ‘party’ replaced by ‘work event’.
And a third, capturing a guilt-stricken dog surrounded by shredded paper, read: ‘My name is Boris and trust me I know nothing about parties.’
Ryanair earlier joined in by sharing an image of the Prime Minister’s face edited onto a popular meme showing dancing party-goers with the captions: ‘Boris Johnson for 25 minutes on 20 May 2020’ and ‘I don’t know I’m at a party’ next to his face.
Johnson said he wanted to ‘thank’ staff at the event in May 2020 but recognised that in ‘hindsight’ it should not have happened.
He said he understood public ‘fury’ and ‘took responsibility’, but that he believed it was a work event. ‘I bitterly regret it,’ he added.
Johnson’s own supporters in the ruling Conservative Party say he’s skating on thin ice after admitting he attended a gathering of 30 people during lockdown.
Johnson said he only showed up to see the festivities in Downing Street’s garden for 25 minutes because he thought it was a “work event.” Some Conservatives have joined the opposition Labour Party in calling for his resignation. His fate hinges on report probing the incident.
Eurasia Group sees a 55 percent chance Johnson will step down this year. – Agencies