Monday, January 31, 2022

UK: Hangover at 10 Downing Street UK: Hangover at 10 Downing Street By Alexander Mühlauer, London - Yesterday at 22:57 "Failures in leadership and judgement": The investigative report on the Partygate affair puts the British prime minister in distress. Johnson says "sorry". Hangover at 10 Downing Street Monday started off well for Boris Johnson, but that was to change fairly quickly. Earlier this morning, the Prime Minister drove to the port of Tilbury to commemorate the second anniversary of Britain's exit from the EU. Johnson donned an orange docker's jacket and promised Britain would become "the number one place" for corporate investment. And thanks to a law that will materialize the newly won freedoms, Johnson calls it "Brexit Freedoms Bill". The prime minister was in his element this Monday morning. He reeled off campaign slogans and promised what he had repeatedly promised since Brexit. It remains to be seen whether this will actually happen. And so Johnson was asked at the port about something that would lead to an open exchange of blows in the British House of Commons on Monday afternoon: the inquiry into the Partygate affair. But that morning at the port, Johnson only shrugged it off and said he stood by everything he had said on the subject. It shouldn't stop there. "Business as usual" then? There was no talk of that on Monday Because at lunchtime it was announced that "an update" of the report by government official Sue Gray had been handed over to 10 Downing Street. In order to broadcast something like "business as usual", the government announced in the early afternoon that the prime minister would travel to Ukraine on Tuesday. Johnson's agenda also included a phone call with Vladimir Putin for Monday afternoon. "Business as usual" then? There was no talk of that on Monday. Neither the attempted liberation with the new Brexit law (including a more than 100-page paper entitled "The Benefits of Brexit") nor the efforts in the matter of Ukraine could suppress the issue in London that could possibly cost Johnson his office: party gate. However, Gray writes that she can only say something about the events "to a very limited extent". In the afternoon, a good hour before Johnson's appearance in Parliament, the time had come: Gray's preliminary report was published. A total of 16 parties are listed on twelve pages. The conclusion of the report is clear: there were "failures in leadership and judgment". However, Gray writes that unfortunately she can only say something about the events "to a very limited extent". The reason for this is the ongoing investigation by the Metropolitan Police. The police told her that it would be appropriate to "minimally respond" to the gatherings on the days under police investigation. It was therefore, according to Gray, "not possible to create a meaningful report in which the extensive facts that I was able to collect are presented and analyzed". The official merely states that "some of the meetings" should not have taken place or should not have developed as they did. Gray urged the government to learn "important lessons" from these events. For example, "excessive consumption of alcohol" in the workplace "is never appropriate". Steps needed to be taken to ensure that each department had "a clear and robust policy on alcohol consumption in the workplace". According to Gray's report, the Metropolitan Police are currently investigating 12 parties where there may have been violations of the Corona rules. After initiating their investigation on January 25, the police announced that Gray could publish its report independently of the investigation results of the authorities, but without reference to the gatherings that are also being investigated by the police. Otherwise there would be a risk of "prejudgement". And so the report handed to Johnson was just an "update" for now. Finally, at around 3.30pm London time, the Prime Minister stepped up to the lectern in the House of Commons and said "Sorry." But an apology isn't enough, as people have made great sacrifices and played by the rules during the pandemic, Johnson said. You have to look in the mirror and learn lessons. Johnson announced restructuring at his official residence. "I understand and I will fix it," he said. Otherwise, you should wait for the police investigation. Labor leader Keir Starmer called on Johnson to resign.