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Coronavirus

Party over? UK PM Johnson faces crunch day in parliament

Published: Updated:

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have to fight on Wednesday to defend his premiership after it was revealed a “bring your own booze” gathering was held at his official residence during the first coronavirus lockdown.

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Opposition lawmakers have called for Johnson to resign and some in his own Conservative Party have said he should quit if he is found to have broken strict laws his government brought in to prevent the spread of the virus.

Johnson, who swept to power in 2019 on a promise to secure Britain’s exit from the European Union, has so far refused to say whether he attended the gathering in Downing Street on May 20, 2020.

“His survival is in the balance at the moment,” said one senior Conservative lawmaker, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.

“He has got to make a clean breast. I usually find that if you make your apologies, it defuses the issue. Can’t have it hanging on,” said the lawmaker.

The prime minister and his partner Carrie mingled with about 40 staff in the garden of Downing Street after his Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds sent an invitation by email using the pronoun “we”, ITV News reported.

Johnson’s spokesman has repeatedly refused to comment on the details of the report.

When Johnson fields questions in parliament on Wednesday at 1200 GMT, there is just one issue that lawmakers will want an answer to: was he at the drinks party or not?

Newspapers, including those which are usually very sympathetic to Johnson, warned that unless he resolved the issue, his position could become untenable.

On its front page, the Daily Mail posed the question many commentators were asking after the recent scandal: “Is the party over for PM?”

Read more:

UK’s PM Johnson appoints new civil servant to probe ‘partygate’

‘Not a party’: UK says of picture of PM Johnson at lockdown gathering

UK’s Johnson faces fresh accusation of breaching own COVID-19 rules

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