Partygate: Johnson fined by police

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak have been issued with fines after the police concluded their investigation into the Partygate affair over lockdown-breaking parties. Johnson's opponents argue that this renders him morally and politically unacceptable and are calling for his resignation. But his supporters argue that he is indispensable if for no other reason than his clear stance on the Ukraine war.

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The Guardian (GB) /

The voters will respond in kind

Johnson's behaviour must not be swept under the carpet, says The Guardian:

“The lockdown breaches will magnify growing public anger at the kind of country this government is creating: the sense that there is one set of rules for those in power and another for the rest of us. ... It is hard to think of a conclusion more corrosive to democracy, and to a society already deeply riven. ... Tory MPs ... can choose to ignore Mr Johnson's actions. But they should remember that the public will ultimately judge them as well as their boss if they give him a free pass - and rightly so. Treat voters with contempt and you should expect them to respond in kind.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Let this government get on with the job

The prime minister must remain in office, argues The Daily Telegraph:

“Now is not the time for either Boris Johnson or Rishi Sunak to step down. For we are facing two national calamities, the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis. Each of these issues would stretch any government. Together, they risk triggering a long-term spiral of decline. ... This country's leadership must be allowed to get on with the job. We cannot produce a vacuum in Westminster or get bogged down in a party political spitting match, for that would only benefit our totalitarian enemies.”

Irish Independent (IE) /

War no argument for keeping Johnson

The argument that Johnson is currently irreplaceable because of the Ukraine war does not hold water, says the Irish Independent:

“Mariupol won't fall. Kyiv won't surrender. There will be no victory parade in Red Square just because the UK prime minister is about to be replaced. Britain has changed prime ministers in wartime before - both world wars, wars of national survival too - and Volodymyr Zelensky will be fine with the next UK prime minister. The French, after all, are having a presidential election and the prospect of a much more radical change at the top. Whoever follows Johnson won't change the policy on Ukraine.”