Johnson’s support waning over Covid Plan B, Christmas party scandal

By Viviana Garcia

London, Dec 9 (EFE).- British prime minister Boris Johnson has been caught in the eye of a political storm this week due to rising discontent among his Conservative Party colleagues over the reintroduction of Covid-19 measures and a controversial Christmas party in Downing Street, which is alleged to have been held at the height of lockdown last year while hundreds of people were dying of Covid each day.

More and more Tory MPs are critical of Johnson, whose announcement Wednesday of the entry into force of his “Plan B,” aimed at containing the Omicron variant, added to the controversy surrounding the reported Christmas party.

The British press in general has scoffed at the prime minister’s apparent double standards, demanding that citizens comply with restrictions while behind the doors of 10 Downing Street, staff and civil servants reportedly exchanged Christmas gifts a year ago, enjoyed a board of the finest cheeses, drank and carried on the revelry until the early hours of the morning.

From Friday in England, where masks are already needed to enter shops and to use public transport, face coverings will also be required to access enclosed public places, while a vaccination certificate will be needed for nightclubs or large events and remote working will be encouraged from next week.

There has been widespread discontent among Tory backbenchers, with Marcus Fysh calling the Covid passes an “attack” on personal freedoms.

Tory MP Mark Harper has also expressed concern about the “blow” to the government’s credibility.

“The credibility of those at the very top has been seriously damaged,” Harper said on Twitter.

“Why should people listen to the Prime Minister’s instructions to follow the rules when people inside Number 10 Downing Street don’t do so?”

To mitigate the scandal, the Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office, Michael Ellis, said Thursday in the House of Commons — to widespread laughter — that an investigation opened into the alleged Christmas party will also include other celebrations last year reported by the media: one held at Downing Street on November 27 and another at the Ministry of Education on December 10.

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