PM Johnson’s credibility takes another hit, new lockdown photo emerge
London, Dec 20 (EFE).- Boris Johnson’s political headache took another turn for the worse Monday following the publication of an image depicting him with his wife and staff members in Downing Street’s garden enjoying wine and cheese during the first lockdown in the United Kingdom in May last year.
The image published by The Guardian newspaper added to an already torrid week for the British prime minister amid growing questions about his leadership capabilities, not just from the opposition but also within his own Conservative Party.
The photograph shows Johnson, Carrie Johnson and two staff members sitting at a table, on which there is a bottle of wine and a cheese board. In the background, other staff members are gathered around another two tables in the garden.
At the time, the UK’s lockdown rules limited social gatherings to two people outdoors.
The UK’s justice secretary Dominic Raab on Monday rushed to the PM’s defense, telling the BBC that staff met for drinks following “a busy set of working meetings.”
Downing Street officials had earlier insisted that the gathering was a work meeting.
The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, rubbished the claim.
“Everybody would have looked at that photograph, and to suggest that that is a work meeting, is a bit of a stretch by anybody’s analysis,” he told the BBC.
“Just look at the photo and ask yourself is that a work meeting that’s going on or is that a social event?”
The latest images come as another blow for the Conservative Party government and Johnson’s position as prime minister.
Earlier this month, the PM’s former spokeswoman Allegra Stratton resigned after video leaked to UK media showed her rehearsing a press conference in which she referenced a Christmas Party that allegedly took place in Downing Street last year in breach of Covid-19 rules enforced in London at the time.
Public support for the Conservative Party also dropped following a sleaze scandal in which the government sought to alter parliamentary rules to benefit MP Owen Paterson, who was facing suspension for breaking lobbying guidelines.
Paterson later resigned, triggering a by-election in his constituency of North Shropshire. A safe-seat for over 100 years, the Conservative Party lost the by-election to the Liberal Democrats. EFE