Johnson did not realize that lockdown gatherings were parties. New photos now question the defense. The prime minister continues to come under pressure.
New explosive photos are putting pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the eve of the release of the unabridged investigative report into illegal lockdown parties at Downing Street.
The pictures published by the British broadcaster ITV on Monday afternoon show Johnson with a filled glass in his hand, several others present stretch their hands with glasses to toast in the air. On the table, which can be seen in the middle of the photos, there are several open bottles of wine and champagne.
The pictures are said to have been taken at the farewell party for Johnson’s former communications chief Lee Cain in November 2020, according to ITV. They question Johnson’s defense of not realizing the gatherings were parties.
No comment from Johnson
The final investigative report into the “Partygate” affair about banned parties in Downing Street during the Corona lockdown is to be published this week. Opposition leader Keir Starmer accused the government of already undermining the report by top official Sue Gray. Johnson himself declined to comment Monday on questions about the forthcoming report and its implications, saying he would say more after publication.
In the past few days, it has become known that there has been at least one meeting between Officer Gray and Johnson to discuss the report. Both sides initially blamed each other for calling the meeting. Most recently, Downing Street admitted to having arranged such an appointment. A government secretary defended the conversation, saying it had to be clarified which names and photos could be published in the report.
The police investigation into the lockdown parties has now been completed. Around 120 fines were imposed, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson only had to pay for one party, despite attending several events. The investigation report could further weaken his position in his party and in office. An abridged version of the report published a few months ago accused those responsible of leadership failure and serious misconduct.