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Fifth aide resigns as 'Partygate' pressure continues for Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the technology centre at Hopwood Hall College, in Middleton, Greater Manchester, England, Feb. 3, 2022.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the technology centre at Hopwood Hall College, in Middleton, Greater Manchester, England, Feb. 3, 2022. Copyright Jason Cairnduff/Pool via AP
Copyright Jason Cairnduff/Pool via AP
By Euronews with AFP
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Elena Narozanski has become the latest to quit Downing Street.

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The wave of resignation in British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office continued on Friday in the wake of the Downing Street 'Partygate' scandal.

Elena Narozanski, became the fifth aide to resign, Downing Street has confirmed. She was a special adviser to Johnson on women and equalities extremism.

Her resignation came a day after four senior aides also called it quits.

Downing Street announced in a statement on Thursday evening that it had accepted the resignations of Martin Reynolds, Boris Johnson's chief secretary who emailed around 100 people inviting them to a drinks party in May 2020, and his chief of staff Dan Rosenfield, a year after he took office.

The prime minister thanked them for their "important contribution to government", including their work on the pandemic and economic recovery, a spokesman said in a statement.

"They will remain in place until their successors are appointed," he added.

The announcement of the departures was preceded earlier in the day by those of Munira Mirza, Downing Street's head of policy, and communications chief Jack Doyle, who was allegedly at one of the offending parties.

Mirza said her resignation was over Johnson making a "misleading" accusation against the opposition leader when he was defending himself in Parliament on Wednesday following the release of a damning internal report on the Downing Street lockdown-breaching gatherings which highlighted "failures of leadership".

The scandal over the gatherings has severely weakened Johnson with the opposition, as well as several members of his own Conservative party, calling for his resignation.

After he had once again apologised for the gatherings during a session in parliament on Monday, Johnson accused Labour Party leader Keir Starmer of allowing the late ex-BBC star paedophile Jimmy Savile to escape justice when he was head of the UK prosecution service.

The use of this accusation, which is widespread in conspiracy and far-right circles, caused an outcry.

Keir Starmer himself accused Boris Johnson of repeating "fascist conspiracy theories to score cheap political points".

Mirza, who had been working for Johnson for 14 years including when he was mayor of London, wrote in her resignation letter that "there was no fair or reasonable basis for that assumption."

"This was not the usual cut and thrust of politics; it was an inappropriate and partisan reference to a horrendous case of child abuse. You tried to clarify your position today but, despite my urging, you did not apologise for the misleading impression you gave," she added.

According to the Daily Mail tabloid, communications director Jack Doyle told his staff that it had always been his intention to leave two years after taking office in 2020, initially in a junior role, and that his family life had suffered greatly from the scandal in recent weeks.

Downing Steet stressed Boris Johnson's "gratitude" to the two former advisers for their "contribution to government".

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