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Boris Johnson apologizes but refuses to resign

Boris Johnson, March 30, 2022.

Sorry, but no resignation. Boris Johnson on Tuesday, April 12, expressed determination to stay in power after he was fined for a birthday party that violated anti-covid rules – an unprecedented sanction for a British prime minister in office. Once on an ejection seat in January due to this crisis known as “party gate”, the conservative leader now seems protected by the war in Ukraine that cools the fervor among his majority of those who, somewhat there, said they were ready. were to expel him.

However, the sentence, announced by Downing Street on Tuesday, is a serious setback for Boris Johnson, who not only broke the law but also risked claiming he had done nothing illegal in parliament during the bribes. sun and other parties held during the incarceration and disclosed by the press in recent months. He stated on television that he had paid the fine and presented “full apology” for this surprise birthday that he says lasted “less than ten minutes” on 19 June 2020, in the Council Chamber of Ministers, for his 56th birthday. “I have to say that it didn’t seem to me at the time that it could break the rules”he begged.

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If he insured “Understand Anger”he brushed aside calls for resignation, notably by Labor Party leader Keir Starmer and Scotland’s first minister of independence Nicola Sturgeon. “I now want to go ahead and fulfill the mandate that is mine”he explained, citing the economy and the war in Ukraine.

His finance minister, Rishi Sunak, and his wife, Carrie Johnson, were also fined for breaching parties in power circles in 2020 and 2021. At the time, Britons were told to drastically reduce their social interactions to curb the spread of Covid-19 . † Carrie Johnson, sanctioned for the same event as her husband, “apologies without reservation”even if she thought “act within the rules” said his spokesman. “I deeply regret the frustration and anger that has been caused and I am sorry”said Rishi Sunak for his part, rejecting any resignation.

No confidence vote

Aware of the popular anger, several Conservative MPs had spoken out openly in favor of Boris Johnson’s departure a few months ago, but the rebels were not numerous enough to trigger a no-confidence vote. Today, Boris Johnson is benefiting from a favorable context, the international crisis surrounding Ukraine that is preventing the parliamentarians of his conservative camp from ousting him.

Conservative MP Roger Gale said no “Not ready to give Vladimir Putin the satisfaction of thinking we are about to overthrow the UK Prime Minister and destabilize the coalition against Putin”† The Scottish Conservative Party leader Douglas Ross, who had once called for Boris Johnson’s resignation, eventually opposed this departure as well. “Would destabilize the UK if we were to be united in the face of Russian aggression”

The parliamentary recess spares Boris Johnson tedious questions from the opposition – at least until debates resume on Tuesday. Finally, Rishi Sunak, who has been tipped as a possible successor to Boris Johnson, is himself sanctioned and weakened by revelations about his and his wife’s tax situation.

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More than 50 fines in this case

But the prime minister has been weakened and has seen his popularity crumble, he who triumphantly came to power in July 2019. A majority of Britons (57%) believe he should resign, according to a YouGov poll conducted among 2,464 Brits after the announcement of the fine.

An internal preliminary report had already established “mistakes of leadership and judgment” in this case, pointing the finger at unwarranted gatherings and alcohol use at work. In total, the police have issued more than 50 fines in this case for violations of the anti-Covid rules, without naming the recipients.

For the association of families deprived by the Covid-19 pandemic, Bereaved Families for Justice, there is no simply means that the Prime Minister or the Chancellor [Rishi Sunak] can continue [à exercer]

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Le Monde and AFP

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