“Friday wines”: the tradition in Downing Street that complicates Boris Johnson more
LONDON.- The revelations about the “Friday wines” in Downing Street during lockdown joined this Saturday to the list of accusations that erode the image of the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnsoneven within his own party.
The multiplication of scandals due to parties in the midst of a pandemic confront the 57-year-old conservative leader with the worst crisis since his triumphant arrival in power in July 2019 and seems to have put his mandate on a tightrope.
On Wednesday, Johnson already had to apologize to Parliament for his presence at one of those parties, in May 2020, but claimed that thought it was a work meeting, causing widespread irritation and ridicule.
Since then, other compromising information has been published. Among them a party at the seat of government, in which Johnson did not participate, the eve of the burial of Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, in April 2021, when a strict lockdown was in effect and the flag was at half-staff.
This Saturday, the newspaper The Mirror he claimed that, every Friday, Downing Street employees concluded their working week with a few bottles of wine. they called them “the wines of Friday”, the “Wine-time fridays”, in English. An ancient “tradition”, which was maintained despite the confinement.
The report adds that the prime minister was aware of these toasts. “Thinking that I didn’t know doesn’t make any sense,” a source told the Mirror.
A Downing Street spokesman stated that the conclusions of the report commissioned from an official who will decide if Johnson and his collaborators did not respect the rules at various times must be awaited.
But outrage is growing, even among conservatives. At least five ‘Tory’ deputies announced that they requested a motion of internal censure against the prime minister. for his dismissal, it would be necessary for 54 ‘tory’ legislators to approve that motion. One of them, Andrew Bridgen, claimed that Johnson had “lost his moral high ground.” His co-religionist Tobias Ellwood also stressed that if Johnson was unable to lead by example, he should retire. And numerous Conservative MPs reported receiving mountains of messages from disaffected voters.
Johnson has already launched a counteroffensive. According to British media, the leader urged his supporters to praise his achievements, such as compliance with Brexit, and asked some collaborators to leave their positions.
Opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer again demanded Johnson’s departure, in the name of the “national interest”.
According to two opinion polls published this week, Labor took a 10-point lead in voting intentions over the Conservatives. Johnson is currently confined, after a member of his family was diagnosed positive for Covid.
Starmer sees in this retreat a political strategy. Johnson is “literally hiding right now,” he said.
But the Labor leader is also accused of hypocrisy, as some photos show him drinking a beer with a small group of party employees in an office last May, when such gatherings were prohibited, except in the professional sphere. When the photo was first published last year, the Labor Party argued that Starmer had not broken the law as it was “a workplace”.