BRUSSELS (Aftenposten): The verdict was deadly. But drunkenness and lack of leadership are not enough to trap him.
A humble and remorseful Boris Johnson lay down as flat as he could. It was completely after the book.
But sorry is not enough, he thought.
– This is the moment we have to look in the mirror and learn. I accept all the findings in the report.
Then came what could save him:
– I’ve got the point. And I have to fix it! sa Boris Johnson.
The next 24 hours
It was also completely after the book and as Boris Johnson’s communication team had agreed that this had to be played out in the hope of survival.
Because if the Conservative representatives in the House of Commons believe in him and his plan that he – after all – is the best at fixing this, they can fail to show distrust.
Because this is what the next 24 hours are all about. If 54 representatives, in the form of a letter, demand that distrust be promoted against the British Prime Minister, he has again lost control. A motion of censure will take place as soon as the limit of 54 letters is reached.
But there are many indications that more people have got cold feet and have become unsure if the right time is now. In that case, Johnson’s strategy has worked.
The verdict, but not the whole
On Monday afternoon, the investigation report and the conclusions from Sue Gray arrived. The top bureaucrat who had been commissioned to investigate the new mentioned “party street”.
She promised, and the opposition demanded, that only a complete and unedited version would be accepted. Nothing was to be held back.
But that was before Scotland Yard, the British police, surprisingly also decided to investigate the parties in Downing street.
Gray writes in the report that she has investigated 16 gatherings. 12 of these are being investigated by the police. And she has been asked not to disclose details about the parties which are under police investigation and which could lead to criminal cases for those involved.
Thus, she was left with only 4 parties where she can release all the details.
I the report it is said that a number of these parties should not have taken place. The garden in Downing Street was used for festivities without sufficient authorization, the report concludes.
- The report also criticizes the amount of alcohol: The large amount is not suitable for a workplace – neither before, during nor after the corona, she writes.
- Some of the parties under investigation confirm an inability to comply with the high standards required not only of government employees but also of the rules under which the entire British people were subject at the time, the Grays report said.
- The report also criticizes Downing Street for failing leadership and judgment.
Saved by the events
Now the big question is whether Boris Johnson’s canoeing in the House of Commons and the events both outside and at home can save him once again. These are some of the things that can delay the pain – or at best save him:
Did not get the full report
Many of the Conservative representatives are sitting on the fence and are unsure whether they should overthrow Johnson now. They have also been urged to wait until they have seen the full report and until the police investigation is complete. And the police investigation can take weeks and months. Thus, Johnson buys time.
2. End of the Friday pilsner
After Johnson apologized, he spent all his time presenting his agenda «Time for change». Now it needs to be aired and cleared in every corner of Downing Street. Johnson announced that the entire Prime Minister’s office will be reorganized, professionalized and the number of employees will be reduced. An alcohol ban is introduced in Downing Street and the Friday game is definitely over.
3. Johnson’s strategy: Everything should be fine!
Johnson further asked the House of Commons to give him and the government a chance to complete the project they have started and which they are succeeding in, according to Johnson. He boasted again that he had carried out Brexit. On Tuesday, it will be celebrated that it is two years since the British left the EU.
Johnson further said his government has piloted the British safely through covid, and now the British economy is among the best in Europe, measured in economic growth.
Boris has more important things to do
Over the past week, Boris Johnson has been desperately trying to get representatives to realize how risky it will be to promote distrust now. He has had some success with that. Now it is important to “think clearly” – that is, focus on the most important thing, has been his message: Should they reject him for some parties, while Europe is on the brink of war? Is it worth throwing the country into a political crisis for this, has been the message from himself and his advisers.
Boris Johnson said that he will travel to Ukraine later this week and that he has agreed on an important telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin.
5. Cummings’ strategy failed
Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s former strategic adviser and now strongest opponent, has become an object of hatred among many conservatives. This weekend he was interviewed by New York Magazine. There he said it was “his duty” to get rid of Johnson. Cummings has leaked several details from the internal parties. Many are skeptical of Johnson, but even more in the party hate Cummings. So letting Cummings get it right is the last thing they want. Ergo, several have thought that it is more important to save Johnson.
Has the wind turned?
On top of this, a poll from the conservative website Conservative Home shows that a majority of members now believe that “partygate” has been blown out of proportion. This may indicate that the wind has turned.
Late Monday night, there were still no more Conservative MPs who had announced that they would promote distrust.
Last Wednesday, the criticism from Johnson’s own was stronger. Then, among other things, the Tory representative David Davis said the following from the green benches: “For God’s sake, get off!”.
On Monday, former Prime Minister Theresa May was the hardest hit against Johnson:
– Sue Gray’s report shows that you (in Downing Street) either have not read the rules you had made yourself – or you have thought that the rules do not apply to you. Which of the two options is correct? she asked Johnson.
He was answer guilty.