Hard trade with Labor on the partygate. Controversy over the evacuation of animals from Kabul
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
These are the decisive 48 hours for the fate of Boris Johnson. The publication of the result of the investigation into the Downing Street parties during the lockdown is now imminent: and the report by Sue Gray, the senior official who conducted the investigation, could trigger the letters of no confidence of the Conservative MPs towards the premier.
Yesterday was another difficult day for the British Prime Minister, who was besieged on all fronts. Wednesday, the day of the traditional question time in Westminster, the interrogation of the premier by the deputies: who yesterday descended into a chaotic saraband that forced him several times speaker of Parliament to intervene to calm the spirits.
The Labor leader, Keir Starmer, once again ordered Johnson to resign: Frankly – he said – the public has already had an idea, they know that he is not suitable for his role. But Boris replied with a sharp No! and he vowed to get on with the job, claiming that he made all the right decisions regarding Covid and the economy.
The problem of the Labor Party today – said Johnson – is that Starmer a lawyer, not a leader, with a play on words between lawyer (lawyer, Starmer’s profession) and leader. But Angela Rayner, the red pasionaria, promptly retorted from the Labor desks, who yelled at him liar, not leader! (liar, not leader!).
P.This is what is at stake: Johnson’s very elastic relationship with truth. The premier has so far tangled in all sorts of justifications for the Downing Street parties held during the difficult months of the lockdown: but if it is proved that he lied to Parliament, as Starmer reminded him yesterday, he would be forced to resign.
Meanwhile, another obfuscation of the truth emerged yesterday, no less embarrassing than the Partygate. Last August the British had evacuated from the Kabul in the grip of the Taliban 150 dogs and cats that an English NGO took care of: and it was said that it had been the one who had pushed for the rescue Carrie, Boris’ wife, known for her animal rights passion. Speculations that Johnson had branded as foolish: only now emails have emerged proving that the premier had personally intervened to facilitate the evacuation of the animals with a flight of the Ministry of Defense. Which not only belies his words, but also makes you glide suspicion that the London government prioritized animals over people in distress just to please the first lady.
These are all things that will weigh on the minds and hearts of Conservative MPs, for weeks in turmoil: if the Gray report were to unequivocally condemn the prime minister’s work, more than likely the 54 letter threshold (15% per cent of the parliamentary group) needed to ask for an internal vote of confidence on Johnson will be reached. At that point, the conservatives will have to decide whether to keep a leader who now appears hopelessly crippled or to rely on a new prime minister, whose success would be equally uncertain: a dilemma that will be resolved shortly.