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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


by New Worker correspondent

BORIS JOHNSON is battling for his political life following the release of images by ITN News showing the Prime Minister at a leaving party in Downing Street for the outgoing director of communications on 13th November 2020 and a BBC Panorama report on the drinking culture at No 10 during the lockdowns. All were in clear breach of the national coronavirus lockdown regulations and calls for his resignation from both sides of the political divide are echoing across the House of Commons.

Sue Gray’s civil service ‘Partygate’ report, which came out this week, only confirmed earlier reports about the lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street during the pandemic. Johnson said he takes full responsibility for everything that happened on his watch but he’s called on MPs to now “move on”. But Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said Johnson’s act was shameful and it’s time for him to go.

Labour says the leaked images show there is “no doubt now” that Boris Johnson “lied” to Parliament. Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said it would be difficult for the PM to reconcile his statements to Parliament with the released pictures. He urged Tory MPs to remove Johnson from office.

Last December in the House of Commons, Labour MP Catherine West asked the Prime Minister to say “whether there was a party in Downing Street on 13 November [2020]?”. Johnson replied: “No, but I am sure that whatever happened, the guidance was followed and the rules were followed at all times.”

Now MPs are saying Johnson deliberately misled Parliament by denying he attended the 13th November party. Some leading Tories are now openly talking about dumping Johnson.

resignation issue

Veteran Conservative MP Roger Gale told the media that this was a “resignation issue” and Tom Tugendhat, the foreign affairs committee chair, told Times Radio that his colleagues needed “to focus on who is going to lead us into the future” after pictures emerged of the PM drinking at a party in Number 10 during the lockdown.

“And you know, I think we should be pretty ruthless in our in our views, you know… I think it’s absolutely essential that whenever we come up to an electoral event, we look ahead, we look forward. What is the best answer for the United Kingdom?”

Tugendhat said the cost-of-living crisis means the country needed “seriousness” at the top of government. He said: “It’s what keeps food prices down. It’s what keeps energy prices down. It’s what protects the British people. And I’m afraid these photographs just don’t look serious, do they?”

Some say that Johnson will try to call a snap election to save his own skin – but under our fixed term rules he’d need Labour’s votes to dissolve parliament before the next election, which formally won’t take place until 2025. Others believe that the grandees will support a leadership challenge to get rid of what clearly is becoming an embarrassment to their cause.

For the Tory Remainers skulking around in the shadows, the crisis will clearly provide them with an opportunity to settle accounts with Johnson and the others who purged their leading lights to “get Brexit done” in the run-up to the 2019 election.

Sadly the collapse of Nigel Farage’s Brexit movement and the ‘Lexit’ campaign in the labour movement that never really got off the ground means that the Remainers are now poised to make a speedy come-back that was unthinkable only three years ago.