Boris Johnson partygate a ‘political issue’ says former Met chief
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The Prime Minister is battling fresh waves of scandal surrounding his leadership each day, with increasingly vocal calls for his resignation refusing to quieten. Joseph Robertson, director of the Orthodox Conservatives Group think tank, described how the strategies Mr Johnson has historically pursued are now failing him in his hour of need.
He added that the Prime Minister has historically ensured a loud public presence, a steady stream of media attention, and crafted an image as an emblem of Britishness.
But now, “that playbook is very tired for him” according to Mr Robertson.
He told Express.co.uk: “He’s claimed to be like Churchill – winning the war over coronavirus over the last two years.
“He’s failed on most counts to really capitalise on the public mood and present an image of himself that really connects.”
Mr Robertson stressed how, amid the scandals and constantly leaking information from Downing Street, Mr Johnson needs to re-evaluate why his old tactics are doing little to entice back disenchanted supporters.
He added that the Prime Minister’s only real chance at political survival is “to actually take a step back from that playbook, and be very honest with the situation”.
He said Mr Johnson would have to “admit to errors and failings that have happened over the last two years, and get advisers around him who are looking at the real issues that matter most to the population.
“I think Johnson could become the great reformer just to save his career, but I don’t think he will.”
Downing Street is anxiously awaiting the outcome of Sue Gray’s report into alleged lockdown parties at No 10, due to be released at any point.
The Met Police confirmed that Scotland Yard is now investigating “a number of events” in the corridors of power in relation to potential breaches of coronavirus restrictions.
It is reported that Sue Gray will publish her report this week, despite the active investigation by the Met Police.
Government officials have submitted photographic evidence towards the police investigation, which has also been seen by Sue Gray.
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Boris Johnson and groups of people gathered closely together with wine bottles are believed to be in the photographs.
Downing Street has now admitted that staff gathered to mark the Prime Minister’s birthday during the first COVID-19 lockdown.
Up to 30 people may have attended a celebration ar No 10 in June 2020, where cake was served and a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ greeted the Prime Minister.
Downing Street said staff had “gathered briefly” to “wish the prime minister a happy birthday”, but that Mr Johnson was there “for less than 10 minutes”.
The vast majority of indoor gatherings with more than two people were banned under the coronavirus regulations on June 19 2020.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told the cabinet to “look themselves in the mirror” as support for Boris Johnson falls to an “all-time low”.
He said: “There’s a Metropolitan police investigation into the goings-on in Downing Street.
“It’s time that some of those cabinet members spoke out and said we’re not tolerating this any longer.”
A number of cabinet ministers have disputed the details, including environment secretary George Eustice, who claimed “closer to 10” people congregated to present “just a birthday cake brought in at the end of the day”.
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