U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Survives Confidence Vote After ‘Partygate’ Scandal
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a vote of confidence on Monday triggered by lawmakers in his own Conservative party amid widespread anger over a series of lawbreaking parties in Downing Street during the country’s Covid-19 lockdowns, marking the latest road bump in a tumultuous and polarising premiership dominated by the pandemic.
Johnson survived a confidence vote of Conservative MPs by 211 to 148 on Monday.
Johnson is safe from another no-confidence vote for a year, although that 12-month timeline could change.
The leader faced intense pressure from lawmakers—including senior members of his own party—and the public after reports of multiple parties at Downing Street that breached U.K. Covid restrictions.
Johnson—who was fined by the Metropolitan Police for breaking Covid-19 restrictions for attending a party held at government offices—initially denied the parties altogether and later said rules were followed “at all times,” eventually apologising but denying he deliberately misled parliament.
Johnson’s premiership has been mired with controversies surrounding Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Revelations of a string of rule breaking parties at Downing Street by Johnson and his officials when pandemic restrictions were in force—dubbed “Partygate”—prompted a sweeping internal investigation and a criminal probe ending in more than 120 police fines, including fines for Johnson, his wife, Carrie, and Treasury chief Rishi Sunak. Johnson’s fine marked the first time a sitting British prime minister was sanctioned for breaking the law and he has been accused of reworking the ministerial code of conduct to stave off resigning for breaking the rules.
“Partygate” followed a litany of other scandals involving the government’s handling of the pandemic, the awarding of valuable contracts, the refurbishment of Johnson’s flat, unlawfully suspending parliament and a series of other issues before entering 10 Downing Street including being sacked from the shadow Cabinet and fired for making up quotes as a journalist.