Partygate scandal: Lawmakers cannot be lawbreakers

British PM Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak broke the law and repeatedly lied to the public



AFP
AFP

Published: Wed 13 Apr 2022, 12:00 AM

Just when we thought British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had developed some Churchillian traits during the Russian-Ukraine war, his statesman-like character for all to see, comes a party-pooper in the form of ‘partygate’ fines handed by the police. To remind those who may have forgotten or have come late to the party, a series of illegal bashes were held at No. 10 by the prime minister and his team during lockdowns in 2020. The world and the United Kingdom had shut down fearing a fast-spreading virus. But it was business as usual at the premier’s residence with some parties thrown in.

Not just Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is also in the net for being present at the boozy events. The PM’s wife Carrie hasn’t been spared too. The Chancellor was only recovering from some domestic tax problems on account of his wife who had avoided her fair share of taxes in Britain that effectively nipped his chances of succeeding Johnson. Now, this.

The fines may sound like a late rap on the knuckles for the two men and the ruling class led by the Conservative party, but this development could have serious political repercussions. Politics aside, the prime minister and his number 2 are now faced with a moral dilemma: To stay, or go? The Opposition Labour, however, isn’t in two minds and has pointed to the exit for the PM and his wingman.

“Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have broken the law and repeatedly lied to the British public. They must both resign,” said Keir Starmer, the Labour Party leader. According to reports, the London police is probing alleged Covid rules being broken at not one but 12 gatherings at Whitehall and Downing Street. Revelations began trickling in December last year. Johnson initially denied he was at these parties, then said he was there but didn’t know they were indeed parties. The flip-flops didn’t seem to go too well with the Tories at first but they soon fell in line when they realized they didn’t have the stomach for an open contest. The PM appeared combative and put on a brave front at home until the Ukraine war happened and saved his job even as investigations into the affair continued.

The Met police have clear evidence that the PM was indeed present at the event, which happened to be his birthday bash. But is Johnson finished politically? His foes might wish for that to happen. Early indications, however, are that the PM isn’t going anywhere. Sunak, once considered a contender for the PM’s post, has all but lost his sting. Our verdict: lawmakers cannot be lawbreakers. No, prime minister.


More news from Opinion
Trump is no victim. He creates victims

Opinion

Trump is no victim. He creates victims

For decades, Republicans have lectured Americans to quit embracing victimhood and stand on their own two feet, and here’s their leader announcing his presidency on a platform of Woe is me! Quit picking on me! Elect me because I’m a fall guy!

Opinion

Crypto crying for deep regulation

Opinion

Crypto crying for deep regulation

Dubai has taken several steps such as setting up a Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority for regulating the digital assets market outside of certain jurisdictions such as Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC)

Opinion