Boris Johnson’s Future on a Knife Edge after Party Apology
By Staff, Agencies
UK’s Boris Johnson’s premiership was hanging in the balance as Conservative MPs began openly calling for his resignation after he admitted attending a garden party in lockdown, claiming he thought it was a “work event.”
Johnson delivered a carefully worded apology for attending the gathering of up to 40 officials in May 2020, which was described in an email invitation as “socially distanced drinks” to enjoy the warm weather.
Some cabinet ministers later tweeted their qualified support for the prime minister. The culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, said Johnson had been “right to personally apologize” because people were “hurt and angry at what happened”. She said it was now right to await the findings of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry into Downing Street gatherings. The findings could come as soon as the end of next week but more likely the week after, a cabinet source suggested.
One former minister was less convinced, saying Johnson “didn’t apologize for what he did but for things that may or may not have happened which he officially knows nothing about until Sue Gray tells him about it.”
Another MP said: “I’ve not seen such a half-arsed apology since my child apologized for spilling all the milk.”
One frontbencher said: “There’s a sense of relief that he made the apology but there’s a sense of anticipation about the report and whether the police get involved. We are in purgatory.”
There was silence for much of the day from the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, the two people tipped as most likely to succeed Johnson. Explaining that he had been “on a visit all day,” Sunak gave a lukewarm response on Twitter on Wednesday evening, saying Johnson was “right to apologize and I support his request for patience while Sue Gray carries out her enquiry.”