London, Jan 13 (EFE).- British prime minister Boris Johnson, who is facing increasingly loud calls for him to step down after he admitted attending a Downing Street party during lockdown in May 2020, on Thursday canceled an official event and announced he would limit his personal contacts until early next week after a member of his family tested positive for Covid.
A Downing Street spokesman said Johnson would not be visiting a vaccination center in Lancashire where reporters had hoped to be able to ask the prime minister about the event in the garden of his official residence and office while the rest of the country was confined to their homes.
Asked by the media if the prime minister is worried about criticism from within his own ranks, the spokesman maintained that Johnson is focused on “delivering on the public’s priorities”.
The Conservative leader apologized to Parliament on Wednesday for having attended the party, but his “heart-felt apologies” failed to convince either the opposition, led by Labour, nor many of his own MPs. The head of the Conservative Party in Scotland, Douglas Ross, has openly called for his resignation.
Most ministers declared their support for the leader, at least until the conclusion of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s internal inquiry on the gatherings that allegedly took place in Downing Street in violation of coronavirus public health rules.
Johnson has also faced criticism for a staff Christmas party that was held in December 2020.
Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak, a contender to replace the embattled prime minister, was more calculated in his response, noting that Johnson “did the right thing in apologizing” and seconding his “request for patience” until Gray completes her investigation.
Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis insisted Thursday that the cabinet “is united” and said the Tory leader can still “win the next election.”
All eyes are now on Gray’s inquiry, the findings of which are expected next week. EFE