Partygate 2: the wind is turning against Johnson

Boris Johnson has apologised for attending a party held in the garden of 10 Downing Street during the Covid Lockdown in May 2020. The government is already under investigation over violations at a Christmas party. Now the first Tory MPs are calling on the PM to resign, while polls put Labour ten points ahead. Is this the end of the Johnson era?

Open/close all quotes
Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Tories need an alternative

Two factors will decide the prime minister's fate, the Süddeutsche Zeitung explains:

“If there is a credible alternative that guarantees at least the same electoral success as a beleaguered Johnson, then a change would be a sensible investment for the Tories. The search for an alternative will accelerate if (secondly) the polls do not improve. On 5 May the British will elect their local politicians. These elections stand to become a referendum on Boris Johnson. If the party sees the result coming, it could put an end to the spook and tell the electorate in time: We get it, the Johnson era is over.”

Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Completely out of touch with reality

Pride comes before the fall, Jyllands-Posten reminds readers:

“Apparently, upper-class Johnson is so disconnected from reality that he could see nothing wrong in partying while many other Britons could not visit their dying relatives in hospital or attend their funerals. ... Boris Johnson is his own worst enemy, and the calls for his resignation are growing louder. This may well be the end. ... It's like reading Animal Farm all over again - Orwell's satirical fable about the Soviet Union under Stalin: all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. The fable dates back to the 1940s, but it could just as easily have been written on an evening in May at 10 Downing Street.”

The Spectator (GB) /

Another lucky escape?

Johnson may well survive this scandal, too, writes The Spectator:

“By placing his destiny so firmly in the hands of a civil servant he's taking a gamble that may prove wise. The wonks of Whitehall are risk-averse souls who lack any instinct, never mind any training, for the task of toppling the governor they serve. And Ms Gray is a shrewd choice of sleuth. She doesn't look like an attention-seeker, and she must know that if her verdict were to kill Boris's career she would become a worldwide celebrity overnight. The chances are that Whitehall will deliver a whitewash. And there isn't a single voter who considered Boris an honourable and truthful politician before this scandal broke.”

Naftemporiki (GR) /

The carefree prince

That Johnson appears to have no intention of resigning of his own volition does not surprise Naftemporiki:

“He didn't resign when he made mistakes, omissions or told lies [in dealing with the pandemic] that actually cost lives. He didn't resign over the failings of the healthcare service, he didn't resign over controversial financing of the renovation of his official residence, over the awarding of contracts to friends or cronyism vis-à-vis generous Tory donors. ... He didn't adhere to the social distancing he imposed on the British people. He had no problem with all this, and now he's supposed to be ashamed? ... Bring your own booze, the party isn't over yet.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

On thin ice

It's high time for Johnson to stop making excuses and state clearly whether or not he attended the party, says The Daily Telegraph:

“There are only three answers to that question, 'yes', 'no' or 'I can’t remember'. The last is plainly unbelievable. So, which is it: yes or no? ... Mr Johnson is about to undergo the toughest time of his premiership with energy prices, rising inflation and tax increases all coming in the spring to create a cost of living crunch for millions. Unless he has a convincing explanation for what took place on May 20 2020 in his own back garden ... he will do so with his authority shot to pieces.”

The Irish Independent (IE) /

Rivals waiting to pounce

Johnson's days in office are numbered, the Irish Independent suspects:

“As a seemingly relentless stream of embarrassing revelations continues to be leaked about him ... the task is now greater than merely restoring his image - now it's about trying to salvage his entire reputation and figuring out how to maintain his position as prime minister. Good luck with either of those tasks - his reputation hangs by the thinnest of threads and he has numerous inner-party rivals, notably Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, eagerly awaiting their chance to make a move for the leadership. ... The real question is not whether Johnson will make the choice to quit, but whether his party colleagues will make it for him.”