LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been dogged by a litany of controversies and missteps in recent months, leading to warnings from some of his lawmakers that he must improve his leadership or face a challenge.
Below are some of the troubles Johnson has faced:
OCT. 26 – Conservative lawmaker guilty of paid lobbying
Conservative lawmaker and former senior minister Owen Paterson faces being suspended from parliament for 30 days after parliament’s standards committee found he committed an “egregious case of paid advocacy”.
NOV. 3 – Government changes rules to save Paterson
Johnson’s Conservatives are accused of corruption after they voted to halt Paterson’s suspension and forced through an overhaul of the process of investigating lawmakers.
NOV. 4 – Government U-turn on Paterson
After unhappiness in his own party and newspaper headlines accusing Johnson’s administration of sleaze, the government makes an embarrassing U-turn on the plans it had pushed through a day earlier, and Paterson quit parliament.
NOV. 22 – Peppa Pig speech
Johnson loses his place during a speech and instead regales business leaders with an anecdote about his recent visit to a Peppa Pig theme park, prompting some to raise concerns about his leadership.
NOV. 30 – Lockdown Christmas party report
The Mirror newspaper publishes what becomes the first of many media reports about Christmas parties taking place in government offices, including Johnson’s own Downing Street office, during a December 2020 COVID-19 lockdown when such gatherings were banned.
Other media reports in the following weeks include a photo of Johnson hosting an online Christmas quiz for his staff, seated alongside an official draped in tinsel.
DEC. 7 – Video of staff joking about party published
Hours after Johnson tells journalists he is satisfied that no COVID lockdown restrictions were broken, ITV publishes a leaked video showing his staff laughing and joking during a mock press conference over how to explain a gathering in Downing Street.
DEC. 8 – Johnson apologises, aide resigns
Johnson apologises for the video, saying he is furious about it. Later that day Allegra Stratton, most recently Johnson’s COP26 spokeswoman but his press secretary at the time the mock press conference was filmed, resigns.
DEC. 9 – Conservatives fined over PM’s flat refurbishment
The Conservatives are fined 17,800 pounds ($23,476) by the electoral watchdog for failing to accurately report a donation which helped fund the refurbishment of Johnson’s official residence.
The fine reopens questions over the financing of the work, estimated by some media to have run into hundreds of thousands of pounds, and Johnson’s knowledge of the donation.
DEC. 14 – Conservative lawmakers rebel over Covid measures
More than 100 of Johnson’s Conservative lawmakers vote against new coronavirus restrictions, dealing a blow to his authority and raising questions about his leadership.
DEC. 17 – Johnson’s Conservatives lose parliamentary seat
Johnson’s Conservatives lose a local election to replace lobbying-row lawmaker Paterson, substantiating fears among some that its reputation and electoral prospects are no suffering under Johnson.
Johnson says he takes personal responsibility for the loss of the seat his party had dominated for nearly 200 years.
DEC. 17 – Party investigation head steps down
Britain’s top civil servant Simon Case steps down from leading an investigation into alleged parties in government offices after it is reported an event was held in his own office.
DEC. 18 – Brexit minister Frost resigns
Brexit minister David Frost, a core architect of Johnson’s tumultuous Brexit strategy, resigns over disillusionment with the direction of Johnson’s government.
DEC. 19 – Newspaper publishes garden party photo
The Guardian newspaper publishes a photograph of Johnson and more than a dozen other people drinking wine in the garden of his Downing Street residence which it said was taken during a COVID-19 lockdown in May 2020.
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