Friday parties in which bottles of wine were uncorked were a tradition during the confinement by coronavirus in Downing Street, The Mirror newspaper said this Saturday, adding this information to the list of accusations and scandals that dot the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The 57-year-old conservative leader, involved in the embarrassing controversy of his government parties while the British were confined, is the target of criticism from the opposition and also from his government.
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It is without a doubt the worst crisis since his triumphant arrival in power in July 2019 and it seems to have put his mandate on the line.
On Wednesday, he was already due to apologize to Parliament for his presence at one of these parties, in May 2020, but stated that he thought it was a work meeting, an explanation that caused widespread irritation and derision.
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Since then, other compromising information has been published. They included a party at the seat of government, in which Johnson did not participate, on the eve of the burial of Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, in April 2021, when a strict confinement was in force.
This Saturday, the Mirror claimed that, every Friday, Downing Street employees concluded their working week with a few bottles of wine. They were called “the wines of Friday”, the “Wine-time Fridays”, in English. An ancient “tradition”, which was maintained despite the confinement.
The newspaper adds that the prime minister was aware of these toasts. “Thinking that he didn’t know doesn’t make any sense,” a source told the Mirror.
A Downing Street spokesman said that it is necessary to wait for the conclusions of the report made by an official who will decide if Johnson and his collaborators did not respect the rules at various times.
But outrage is growing, even within Johnson’s conservative party, which is fighting to stay in power.
For his part, the leader of the Labor opposition, Keir Starmer, called for his resignation.
“We are witnessing the sad spectacle of a prime minister mired in lies and lies, incapable of leading,” Starmer will say in a speech this Saturday, according to previously released excerpts.
But the Labor leader is also accused of hypocrisy, as photos show him having a beer with a small group of party employees in an office last May, when such gatherings were banned except professionally.
When the photo was first published last year, the Labor Party argued that Starmer had not broken the law as it was “a workplace”.
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