the controversial career of the British prime minister

The UK government, headed by Boris Johnson, has been experiencing a credibility crisis since the parties in Downing Street in full confinement, known as ‘partygate’, came to light. However, despite the rumors about his resignation after dozens of resignations in the Executive, the one who was a controversial journalist and is now the British ‘premier’ assures that he will continue to lead the country.

When Boris Johnson gave his opening speech as Prime Minister on July 24, 2019, he did so from the famous number 10 Downing Street. At that time, neither he nor his government cabinet imagined the amount of controversies that his figure would generate in a few months.

“The skeptics, the pessimists, are going to be wrong again. The people who bet against the United Kingdom are going to lose again,” he said from London’s famous black door, when he then proposed to carry out Brexit, whose campaign in favor It was his main battle horse to get to lead the country.

Johnson was born in 1964 in New York, United States, where his parents were studying at the time. However, when he was just one year old, the British family decided to return to the UK. To make his national identity clear, Johnson decided to renounce his US citizenship in 2015.

Upon his departure from the University of Oxford – where he studied Literature – the conservative politician opted for journalism, a profession that today does not overlook any of its scandals. A stage in his life that began shrouded in controversy, after being fired from the prestigious newspaper ‘Timesfor inventing a date a few months after starting to work there, in 1987.

“I made things worse,” he told The Independent newspaper in 2002 of his attempt to deny the allegations.

Boris Johnson sitting in his London office and reading 'The Spectator' on his 175th birthday.
Boris Johnson sitting in his London office and reading ‘The Spectator’ on his 175th birthday. © Jim Watson / AFP

However, that incident was far from marking the end of his journalistic career. Almost immediately after being fired from him, the ‘Telegraph’ signed him as a correspondent in Brussels, headquarters of the European Union. From there, he began to forge his anti-European policy, which experts would call the “Euromyth” – a rhetoric that held that the European Union threatened the British way of life.

“The Johnsonian creed considers that lying is, in his own words, acceptable and sometimes desirable,” said one of his colleagues. to the newspaper ‘The Washington Post’.

During his correspondence for the ‘Telegraph’, Johnson made use of headlines such as ‘Threat to British pink sausages‘ for his chronicles, clearly in line with euroscepticism. Phrases that made him gain many detractors but also followers.

Something that Johnson himself claimed to be “well aware of.” A feeling that, as he himself has recognized, was his gateway to the world of politics.

“Everything I was writing from Brussels was having an incredible explosive effect on the Conservative Party and I guess it gave me a strange sense of power,” he said in an interview with British television BBC.

Take off in the world of politics

It was not until 2001 that Johnson sat in the House of Commons and did so with the Conservative Party. From there, his political career took off and he managed to become Mayor of London in 2008 and repeat in office in 2012.

“I feel proud of what I have done with this city,” he cried out upon winning the mayoralty for the second time in a row.

And if his journalistic career was marked by controversy from the beginning, his profession as a politician was no different. Johnson was accused of maintaining relationships with women with positions lower than his and even for making several pregnant. He was also in the eye of the hurricane for xenophobic comments againstAfro-descendants and Muslims, he claimed, were centuries behind the West because of their religion.

Boris Johnson leaves a polling station in Highbury and Islington, north London, on May 1, 2008.
Boris Johnson leaves a polling station in Highbury and Islington, north London, on May 1, 2008. © Carl de Souza / AFP

However, all these controversies did not seem to affect his political career, which was growing by the minute. After the 2016 referendum, in which the British decided to leave the European Union, Johnson was appointed foreign minister under Theresa May’s government.

After two years in office, in 2018, the conservative decided to resign. His policies and ideas to leave the European Union collided with those of May, who drew criticism from the most eurosceptic wing of his party. A year later it would be Johnson who would hold the position of prime minister, getting the Conservatives the largest vote since the time of Margaret Thatcher.

With the briefcase under his arm, his promise was clear from the beginning of his term: take the United Kingdom out of the European Union.

The Beginning of the End: Downing Street Parties

The Prime Minister entered Downing Street through the front door, in the first months of government he achieved what he had promised: on January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom definitively left the European Union. All after the popular referendum, but also after many years of personal struggle by Johnson and other politicians in his party.

But, along with Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic reached the United Kingdom and things began to get complicated for the conservative.

Johnson insisted at the beginning of the pandemic that the country not apply restrictions and that it opt ​​for seeking “herd immunity.” The United Kingdom was the European country that registered the most deaths from the virus, with a whopping more than 180,000 deaths. With hospitals collapsed and the health system hanging by a thread, even Johnson himself visited the intensive care room -or ICU- after contracting the disease in March 2020.

“I want to tell them that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the things we did wrong and also for how this whole thing has been managed,” he said a month after leaving the UCI before the House of Commons.

But, after weathering a mismanagement of the pandemic and coming out of the disease, his problems had only just begun.

“I want to tell you that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the things we did wrong and also for how this whole thing has been managed”: Boris Johnson to the Commons

In December 2021, a series of parties held in Downing Street in full confinement, known as the ‘partygate’, came to light. The worst: the prime minister had attended several, even accompanied by his wife.

The first to leak was that of May 20, 2020, an event that the ‘premier’ said he believed was a “professional meeting”, something that began to undermine the credibility of the Executive.

“You must obey the rules of social distancing. Therefore, we are going to increase the fines for those who break them,” Johnson said in a national broadcast on May 10, days before the party.

Far from being the only such event, it was later discovered that Boris Johnson celebrated his birthday on June 18 at another alleged “work meeting”. On this occasion, there was a high consumption of alcohol and even fights between those present.

A meeting with multiple attendees in full confinement, while thousands of people were unable to attend funerals of their loved ones or visit them in hospital. Something that led 56% of the country to want his resignation.

Can the Prime Minister accept that the party is over?, Keir Stramer

Despite his attempts to defend himself and repeat that everything should be subject to investigations, the blow to Johnson was brutal.

“When I entered that garden I thought it was a work meeting, nobody told me that it was illegal or against the rules,” said the ‘premier’ in his defense.

However, the report commissioned from the official Sue Gray on these parties ensures that -although no legal charges have been filed against Boris Johnson- the events were a sign of the “deficiency” of the Executive and the “leadership failures” of the Prime Minister .

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologizes in Parliament for breaching lockdown restrictions, on April 19, 2022 in London.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologizes in Parliament for breaching lockdown restrictions, on April 19, 2022 in London. © Jessica Taylor / AFP

“Many people will be shocked at the scale of the behavior that took place in the very heart of government,” Gray wrote in his post.

The fine of just over a hundred euros that fell on Johnson was something historical, since it made him the first government leader to be fined in British history.

“Can the prime minister accept that the party is over?” said Keir Stramer, leader of the Labor Party.

Strategies of distraction and disbandment of the Government

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine seemed to put a stop to Johnson’s scandals. His diplomatic intervention and arms supply to the Ukraine allowed the British to shift focus for a time.

“It allowed him to present a different face to voters and sell the message of a country united against Putin’s invasion. The war has killed almost all public interest in any other issue, including ‘partygate.’ that they have forgotten,” Open University professor and political scientist Simon Usherwood told France 24, a month after the Russian offensive began.

But, as the political scientist predicted, people had not forgotten Johnson’s lies and the percentage of the population calling for his resignation rose to 59% in May this year.

But only members of his party had the ability to dismiss Johnson and, despite filing a motion against him on June 6, it did not go ahead.

This photo released by the UK Parliament shows British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking in the House of Commons in London on July 6, 2022.
This photo released by the UK Parliament shows British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking in the House of Commons in London on July 6, 2022. © Jessica Taylor / AFP

However, the so-called ‘pork pie plot’ -pork pie plot- a group of conservative representatives against Johnson, has taken its toll despite not having stopped him. The controversies around the conservative leader have broken the unity of the party and have culminated in the flight of high-ranking government officials.

In what the British press is calling “the Cabinet rebellion”, at least 30 top government officials have resigned. And now, the rumors of the possible resignation of Boris Johnson resound again in the midst of the credibility crisis added to his lack of leadership.

However, the ‘premier’ is characterized by having repeatedly survived situations that invited him to resign. Something for which some experts call him “the survivor”.

“I have a plan and we will continue working. I am not going to resign,” the politician assured in the midst of the disbandment of his government.

with local media

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