Boris Johnson speaks during the weekly question time debate at Parliament in London on Wednesday. Reuters
Johnson, who in 2019 won the biggest Conservative majority in more than 30 years, is braced for the publication of an official investigation into claims that there were multiple boozy Downing Street parties during lockdowns. He told parliament no rules were broken.
It was not immediately clear when the results of that investigation by Cabinet Office official Sue Gray would be published, especially as police have opened their own investigation.
Asked by the opposition Labour Party Keir Starmer leader if the ministerial code, which says that ministers who had knowingly misled parliament should offer to resign, applied to him Johnson said: "Of course." "If he'd misled parliament, he must resign," Starmer told parliament. "Will you now resign?" "No," Johnson replied.
He said he could not speak about investigations into the alleged parties. Johnson said his government was focused on driving economic growth and leading the Western response to the Ukraine crisis.
Johnson has given a variety of explanations about the parties: first he said no rules had been broken but then he apologised to the British people for the apparent hypocrisy of such gatherings.
He has denied an allegation he was warned that a "bring your own booze" lockdown gathering on May 20, 2020, which he says he thought was a work event, was inappropriate.
ITV reported on Monday that Johnson and his now wife Carrie had attended a surprise party of up to 30 people for his birthday in the Cabinet Room at Downing Street in June 2020, when indoor gatherings were banned.
British police on Tuesday said they had opened their own investigation into lockdown events at Downing Street, upping the pressure on Johnson.
Some of his lawmakers have already demanded he resign but to trigger a leadership challenge, 54 of the 359 Conservative MPs in parliament must write letters of no confidence to the chairman of the party's 1922 Committee. The number of letters submitted is kept secret until the threshhold of 54 is reached.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, tipped as a possible future prime minister if Johnson is toppled, said Downing Street had not yet been given the findings of the Gray report but that it would come out very soon.
Asked about the claims that Johnson and his staff had partied at the heart of the British state while ordinary people were banned from even bidding farewell to their dying relatives in person, Truss said some of the reports were concerning.
"There clearly needs to be a change in culture," Truss told the BBC. "We need to get the results of the report, we need to look at the results and fix the issues there are."
Asked if she had leadership ambitions, Truss said Johnson, 57, had done a great job as prime minister by delivering Brexit and responding to the COVID pandemic. Truss said she was 100% supportive of Johnson.
Johnson announced on Thursday that he would stand down as prime minister after a mass rebellion in his Conservative Party, triggered by the latest in a series of scandals that had fatally undermined public trust.
As early results suggested Johnson, a former London mayor, was losing support in southeastern England, his supporters moved in quickly on Friday to say it was not time to oust a leader they said could still “get things done” to help the economy.
The 42-year-old wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign after The Sun newspaper published photos of the married minister embracing a woman who he had appointed to a taxpayer-funded role to scrutinise the performance of his department.
Dr Chowdhury was a locum urologist who worked at Homerton Hospital in East London and died at Queen's Hospital in Romford after testing positive for coronavirus. He was survived by his wife and two children.
"Children who do survive this war will not only bear the visible wounds of traumatic injuries, but the invisible ones too," MSF International Secretary General Christopher Lockyear told the 15-member council.
The PML-N has nominated Maryam Nawaz as its candidate for the chief ministership. If elected, then Maryam would become the first-ever female chief minister in the country’s history.
They explained that the noise made by vehicles disturbs public peace and creates a state of panic, tension, and nervousness among other drivers, road users and residents of neighborhoods, especially children, patients and the elderly.