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UK Prime Minister in Hot Water over Lockdown Parties by Sven R. Larson

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UK Prime Minister in Hot Water over Lockdown Parties

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is accused of holding “bring your own booze” parties at his residence on 10 Downing Street while his country was under pandemic lockdown. The accusations could lead to the prime minister’s resignation. 

In May 2020, the prime minister invited a select group of about 40 staff members for some “socially distanced drinks” at the famous prime ministerial residence, NBC News reports. At the time, according to NBC News, pubs and restaurants were forced to keep closed and there were extensive police controls of the whereabouts and travel intentions of private citizens. 

An inquiry into the matter by a member of the civil service lists a dozen parties in 2020 and 2021, most of which were held at 10 Downing Street. The report criticizes Prime Minister Johnson’s office for inappropriate handling of the events, and announces a newly opened police investigation into the parties.

The revelations about the parties are beginning to have political consequences. According to The Independent, some legislators of the prime minister’s own party “will push for a non-confidence vote” should it turn out that the prime minister has told any lies to Parliament regarding the events now under investigation. 

Prime Minister Johnson denies any wrongdoing and has made clear that he does not plan to resign. On January 12th he extended an apology to Parliament for the parties and how his office had handled the issue. The apology got mixed receptions even from members of his own party, with some conservative MPs accepting the apology as “genuinely sincere,” while others insisted on the prime minister’s resignation. 

Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour party opposition, minced no words calling for Prime Minister Johnson to resign. His refusal to do so, Starmer explained, was “endangering the union between Scotland and England.”

Sven R. Larson is a political economist and author. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Roskilde University, Denmark. Originally from Sweden, he lives in America where for the past 16 years he has worked in politics and public policy. He has written several books, including Democracy or Socialism: The Fateful Question for America in 2024.

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