Will Boris Johnson Resign After the Sue Gray Party Report?

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Feb. 1 2022, Published 12:35 p.m. ET

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been facing criticism over reports that he held parties when the country was in lockdown. The calls for him to resign have gained momentum after a report by Sue Gray, a senior civil servant in the country. What details are in the Sue Gray Party report and will Johnson resign?

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Johnson is a Conservative Party politician and he became the Prime Minister in July 2019. Before that, he served as the secretary of state for foreign affairs for two years under Theresa May. He was the Mayor of London between 2008 and 2016.

People have criticized how Boris Johnson handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many people have been critical of the way Johnson handled the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.K. He was among the politicians who were initially dismissive of the virus. Later, Johnson apologized for his initial response to the pandemic.

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Johnson said, “Perhaps the single biggest false assumption that we made was about the potential for asymptomatic transmission, and that did govern a lot of policy in the early days. All that misunderstanding about the reality of asymptomatic transmission certainly led to real problems that [meant] we then really had to work very hard to make up ground.”

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However, after the initial reluctance to impose lockdowns, Johnson ordered strict lockdowns in March 2020 and again in December 2020. A lot of businesses, especially restaurants and pubs, were critical of the crippling and often strange guidelines that the Johnson government imposed.

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Johnson was partying while the nation was in lockdown.

Reports that Johnson was parting while ordering a lockdown for his countrymen added salt to the wounds of U.K. businesses hit by the lockdowns. Johnson’s parties have been quite controversial and earlier in January, he apologized to Queen Elizabeth II after reports emerged that his staff partied late into the night on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral.

On more than one occasion, Johnson has apologized for his parties during the lockdowns.

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What details are in the Sue Gray Party report?

Gray submitted her report, which has been published in a limited form. The report calls out the “failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times.”

Gray studied 16 events that took place between May 2020 and April 2021. The events were spread across over a dozen dates and took place either in 10 Downing Street or the Cabinet Office. One of the events was also held at the Department of Education.

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In her report, Gray said that while some of these events “should not have been allowed to take place,” others "should not have been allowed to develop as they did.” She also said that it's “difficult to justify” some of the behavior at these gatherings.

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Will Johnson resign?

While apologizing for his behavior, Johnson has resisted calls for his removal. The U.K. opposition has been making calls for his resignation. Even some of the Conservative party members have been critical of his behavior. The country’s media has used the choicest of words to criticize Johnson and The Mirror said that he has “zero shame.”

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For now, the Conservative party isn't on the same page about removing Johnson from his position. However, things could change as the Metropolitan police complete its investigation. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is seen as the frontrunner to replace Johnson if he resigns.

Currently, U.K. politics is in the middle of one of its worst crises. Apart from the controversy over Johnson's parties, the Queen stripped Prince Andrew of his royal patronage and he's now defending himself as a private citizen in the sexual assault lawsuit.

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