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UK media reaction to Boris Johnson after Sue Gray report

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson speaks in an interview at Tilbury Docks on 31 January 2022 in Thurrock, England.

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LONDON – The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and his team are waking up on Tuesday to a barrage of sharp headlines in the British press after the early results of a survey of various parties held in Downing Street and government buildings during Covid-19 lockdowns.

The report, conducted by senior official Sue Gray and published in limited form Monday, described “failure in the leadership and judgment of various sections of No. 10 and the Cabinet Office at various times” and said some of the behavior was “difficult to justify.”

The 12-page report was the result of several weeks of investigations conducted by Gray, where hundreds of photos and documents were collected, and which has now been passed on to the Metropolitan Police as it conducts its own investigation into alleged Covid breaches by government staff.

Weeks of reports of parties and gatherings – some reportedly and others admitted, and with numerous events attended by Johnson – have greatly agitated the British press, the public and politicians from across the political spectrum. That anger and indignation was reflected in headlines Tuesday.

‘Zero shame’

The metro, a free newspaper widely distributed to commuters, with the headline with Grays ‘main findings: “A failure of leadership” along with a picture of a besieged Johnson, noting that Grays’ “update gives a judgmental verdict on bubbling pandemic parties at no. . 10. “

Gray’s report is expected to be released in its entirety after police complete their own investigation, but it made it clear that lockdown parties “should not have been allowed to take place” while others “should not have been allowed to to evolve as they did. “

There has been a chorus of calls for Grays’ report to be published in its entirety, and the government has responded that an updated report would be published once the police investigation is completed.

‘Tories teeth leadership’

Many politicians on all sides of the political spectrum have expressed anger and dismay at Johnson’s leadership, but the prime minister has so far refused to resign, and a Conservative party’s threshold for a no – confidence vote has not yet been reached.

That in the newspaper had the headline with its stance that “PM pleads for his job”, while the left-leaning newspaper Guardian reflected a growing cacophony of dismay among Johnson’s own conservative lawmakers, and its headline noted that “the Tories turn on leadership after the Gray report “, as it described. “furious MPs” who have forced Johnson into a U-turn after he initially refused to answer whether Gray’s report would be published in its entirety.

The right-wing Telegraph the newspaper also reflected on this apparent capitulation over a fuller publication of Grays’ report, noting in its own headline that “PM is asking Gray for a new report” for, it said, “to appease the perpetrators.”

On Monday, Johnson told a packed House of Commons that he was “very, very upset about misjudgments that may have been made by me or anyone else in number 10 and the Cabinet Office,” but said no conclusions should be drawn from the fact that police investigator.

If there is not a vote of no confidence in Johnson (a vote held only if 54 of his own MPs submit letters to the 1922 committee, an influential group of lawmakers on the back table overseeing leadership challenges), then the next big test is by the public The mood towards the government will be at the local elections in May.

Roger Gale, Conservative MP for North Thanet, is among the Conservative lawmakers who have submitted letters of no confidence to the 1922 committee. He told CNBC that “the Prime Minister has spent a few weeks now saying ‘wait for Sue Gray’, then he said yesterday again and again … ‘Wait for the Metropolitan Police’ [report]’, “Gale remarked.

“There’s a limit to how far he can kick the can down the road, I think he’s running out of the way,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Tuesday.

A sign that the Conservatives’ voter base is angry at the government came on Tuesday when the Daily Mail, a former supporter of the Prime Minister and read by many conservative-oriented members of the public, appeared tired of the “partygate” debacle, with its own headline a no-nonsense: “Now publish it all damn.”

Papers reflect the feelings of the public

Many members of the public mock the government for not following the strict Covid lockdown rules it set for everyone else, especially as many sacrificed their freedoms and time with their loved ones.

“The hardships that citizens across the country worked, lived and sadly even died under while strictly following government rules and guidance are only too well known,” Gray wrote in his report Monday.

“Given the pandemic, as the government asked citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behavior surrounding these gatherings is difficult to justify,” she added.

Speaking to Parliament on Monday, Johnson said he understood public anger and insisted: “I understand it and I will fix it. And I want to say. And I want to say to the people of this country, I know what The problem is.”

The Daily Express, a supporter of Johnson, is likely to be one of the more tasty newspapers for officials on Tuesday, and its new edition suggests Johnson gets another chance. It’s called: “Yes PM, you got it wrong … Get it right now!”

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