Boris Johnson’s garden party Anger rises over the premier’s photo

from Paola De Carolis

The Guardian publishes a picture of a “business meeting” in Downing Street while strict rules against crowds were imposed in the country

LONDON – “It was the time when I didn’t know if sitting on a park bench to breastfeed my baby I would be approached by the police,” wrote Emma on Twitter. “The same month I went to visit my mother, who was very ill. We wanted to sit in the garden for a moment, but we decided it was against the rules. She died shortly after, ”Dominic points out. The anger of citizens is pursued on social networks after the publication of a photograph of Boris Johson and his partner Carrie last May in the garden on Downing Street with a group of collaborators, in flagrant violation of the rules then in force.

A Downing Street spokesperson pointed out that that day in the prime minister’s home “There were business meetings”, but the image, published by Guardian, does not know of work, with glasses of wine and trays of cheeses scattered and small groups of smiling and relaxed people. It is not the first photo, probably not the last, which depicts illegal gatherings in state buildings while the rest of the country faced the pandemic in solitude, but the effect is cumulative: the impression is that the jar is full and that the fateful drop could be hiding anywhere. Johnson had so far managed to deny that he was aware of the holidays – at Tory headquarters even with refreshments and hot and cold dishes, so clearly organized well in advance – but this time the prime minister appears in the photo.

“Downing Street is the prime minister’s home as well as being the place where he works,” a spokesman said. “The prime minister’s wife lives with him and therefore has the right to use the garden.” According to Guardian the photograph was taken on the day when the then health minister, Matt Hancock, himself forced to resign for violating the lockdown rules by meeting his lover in the office, had launched a new appeal to the country on compliance with the rules despite the spring weather.

For Johnson, the photo is a mess he didn’t need in a turbulent time he saw the resignation of ally David Frost, minister for Brexit, the loss of the traditionally Tory seat in North Shropshire, the rebellion of one hundred deputies in Westminster over anti-Covid measures. The photo and party scandal foments a broader speech about a prime minister who, as Simon Kuper wrote on the Financial Times, seems to have a natural tendency to see oneself above the rules, since he was at school (so much so that Eton’s own teachers had pointed this out).

Resigning Lord Frost on cameras explained this morning that he always agreed with Johnson on Brexit. “I left the government – he said – because it was unable to support some measures, in particular Plan B and the anti-Covid restrictions, and as a minister I have a duty to resign if I cannot support the government ». Brexit has passed to Liz Truss, foreign minister who is highly regarded by the party and whom many see as a possible successor to Johnson.

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