This Tuesday, April 19, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, once again apologized to Parliament for having breached the health restrictions in force during the covid epidemic.
A flat and “unqualified” apology. Heckled for attending a party in his honor in June 2020 when all Britons were under a strict ban on indoor gatherings, Boris Johnson was fined by London police last week. The head of government decided to speak to Parliament on Tuesday.
“As soon as I received the notification (of the fine; editor’s note), I admitted the pain and the anger and said that people were entitled to expect better from their Prime Minister”, he said, explaining once again that he had not realized at the time of the facts that he was breaking the rules. “It did not occur to me then that a gathering in the ‘Cabinet Room’ just before a crucial COVID strategy meeting could represent a violation of the rules. I repeat that it was my fault and I apologize for that, without reservations.”
Here’s that non-apology from Johnson in full.
Again using the excuse that he didn’t realize “a gathering in the cabinet room just before a meeting…could amount to a breach of the rules.”
Ignorance has never been an excuse for breaking a law. Especially one you wrote. pic.twitter.com/sJvP8HLa1o
—Best for Britain (@BestForBritain) April 19, 2022
Parliament was not in session last week but the opposition demanded Boris Johnson’s resignation accusing him of lying to MPs when he claimed last year that Downing Street, which is his official residence and his workplace, having complied with all the rules in force during the pandemic.
Saved by the war in Ukraine?
Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, on Tuesday acceded to the Opposition’s request for a vote on whether to bring the matter before the House Privileges Committee to open an investigation.
According to the rules governing the functioning of British institutions, knowingly misleading Parliament is an offense which justifies the resignation of its author. “I take this opportunity, on the first day of the session, to renew my sincere apologies to the House,” said Boris Johnson.
It is unlikely that the opposition motion be voted on Thursday since Boris Johnson retains the support of a large majority of Tory MPs. If some elected “Tories” have gone in recent months to suggest his resignation, the outbreak of war in Ukraine has indeed tightened the ranks of the majority around the Prime Minister.
A strong distrust of him
According to an opinion poll carried out by JL Partners with approximately 2,000 people for the daily newspaper The Times, 72% of Britons have an unfavorable opinion of the behavior of the Prime Minister and 16% only a positive opinion. The word most often used to qualify him is “liar”, she specifies.
Labor leader Keir Starmer accused Boris Johnson of using the war in Ukraine as a shield, a tactic he said was “quite offensive”. “He didn’t just break the rules, he lied to public opinion and he lied to Parliament about it,” he said.