Analysis: Is ‘Partygate’ too much of a scandal for Boris

But news of a “bring your own wine” party held in Downing Street Garden at the height of the UK’s first coronavirus lockdown forced the prime minister to apologize this week and admit he attended the event.

Johnson and the government have largely stuck to their line that further comment on the parties should be withheld until an investigation is completed by Sue Grey, a senior civil servant who has been asked about what really happened. The task of preparing a report has been entrusted.

Boris Johnson faced tough questions from MPs in Parliament because "bring your own wine"  Event held in Downing Street during the height of the UK's first COVID-19 lockdown.

While the report itself cannot determine whether any laws were broken, a detailed factual analysis of what happened and why Johnson may have been more pressured to resign. But the scope of the investigation may be narrow enough to avoid smoking gun – and may not even be published in full – meaning Johnson may be able to get out of the scandal, even if Whatever may be said in the same report, it may cause more fury. from his party and voters.

Despite his poor poll ratings, public anger at Johnson and his government, and a growing sense that the prime minister “has become so toxic he can drag us down with him,” as one senior Conservative put it, it Chances are, for the time being, his biggest critics within the Conservative Party will have to suck it up and continue to support a man they are angry with.

A government minister told CNN that “he was an electoral asset in 2019 because he represented Brexit. But if it turns out he is no longer an electoral asset, he [Conservative lawmakers] Might decide to get rid of him.”

When local elections are held in England, Scotland and Wales on May 5, there will be a perfect opportunity to test Johnson’s popularity in just a few months.

It is widely accepted across the party that removing Johnson before this date would be extremely dangerous, as no one can be sure what the outcome will actually be.

Will Jennings, a professor of political science at the University of Southampton, said: “If conservatives are serious about removing Johnson, they should also be serious about replacing him with someone who will honestly show the party that has been in government since 2010.” can start again.” “If they hit out at the local people outright, which is not out of the question and is quite normal for current governments, it would immediately put that new leader on the backfoot.”

Boris Johnson apologized in Parliament on Wednesday.

Several senior conservatives told CNN that if local elections are indeed a disaster for Johnson, they are looking at the long summer break as a possible window to get rid of Johnson.

“It would be the cleanest option as politics closes for the summer,” said a minister.

A senior Conservative official said any new leader would need “time to explain a project that (should be) more complicated than ‘Get Brexit Done’,” the slogan that led Johnson to a landslide victory in 2019. helped achieve.

His reasoning for this is that the 2019 issue was dominated by a single issue. Brexit was a roadblock that needed to be cleared and the public was frustrated and exhausted that three years after the vote, the UK was effectively unable to leave the European Union.

That new project, which is no easy task for the party that has been in power since 2010, will need to be fully prepared and ready before the next scheduled general election date, May 2024. And while this may seem like a long time in politics, following Johnson, a man who achieved great fame before taking office, would be extremely difficult for even the most capable political orator.

The scale of that work, combined with the unique nature of Johnson’s public persona, takes his place, far from certain, even after potentially disastrous local election results.

“This is a very tough judgment call, and it is based more on guts than any real metric,” said Salma Shah, former special adviser to the Conservative Party.

He said, “On the one hand you have to consider whether it is worth deposing the current PM for a new person who is completely untested, on the other hand wonder whether doing nothing would mean anything.” You are going to see your election hopes slip into oblivion,” he said.

It was revealed on Friday that a party was held in Downing Street the night before Prince Philip's funeral, with the Queen being forced to sit alone due to coronavirus restrictions.

The case for keeping Johnson rests on the fact that he may, despite everything, be the Conservative Party’s best hope of winning the next general election. According to a Conservative employee who has worked on several election campaigns, “there is no one with a proper plan to replace him, the pitch is just ‘I’ll do better’.”

Another senior Conservative close to Johnson told CNN that despite the broad agreement he was doing “a terrible job,” it could create a bigger mess than it’s worth.

“He really doesn’t want to stop being prime minister,” the senior Conservative said, “which would make any fight very messy and whatever the outcome, it would probably show the broader public to see the party divided and chaotic”. .

In the end, economic conditions would not be in favor of the Conservative Party for the next election. The crisis of cost of living, inadequate public services, a pandemic to recover from and Brexit are ongoing difficulties.

It would be difficult for any Conservative, especially those more financially savvy than Johnson, to handle these problems given the party has been in power for so long. And it has to be argued that despite all his flaws, Johnson – the devil he has known and a highly successful campaigner – is the best option for the party to stay in power. If he secures a lesser majority in the next general election, his grand exit could be negotiated with the party.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson after visiting the coronavirus vaccination clinic in Uxbridge, west London, on January 10, 2022.

The matter of removing it is somewhat simple. Conservative employees explained to CNN that they are fed up with their expected loyalty being taken for granted by a man who cares more about preserving his power than his party.

They are also sick and tired of the unforeseen errors coming from Downing Street. The “Partygate” is the latest in a string of scandals in which Johnson tried to save the skin of one of his political allies after he violated lobbying rules over the question of whether to renovate Johnson’s Downing Street apartment. who was paying

As Shah explains: “They need to consider how demoralized Tory staff can be from all this. If they have lost faith in the PM it is important to work for his government and win elections under him.” It will be a lot harder to campaign for than in 2019.”

The Conservative Party is being forced to ask itself some very difficult questions in incredibly difficult times. Johnson is no ordinary politician. It is impossible to say whether these scandals have cost him his ninth life, or whether he will still be in charge a year from now.

Either way, Johnson, his government and his party face months of terrible pain that will get worse before it gets better. The bitter truth is that whatever the party decides to do, it will be an uphill struggle from now until the next general election – which they may well have lost.

Between now and then, the party needs to find some way or the other the enthusiasm, energy and campaign for the many political feuds. If it doesn’t, it’s likely that a new era of politics awaits Britain, as the party that oversaw austerity, delivered Brexit and tried to change the image of the nation as a whole, was swept out of office And replaced with something very different.

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