Boris Johnson probably can’t get out of the latest scandal

LONDON (AP) – For Boris Johnson, the facts have always been flexible.

The British Prime Minister’s career is teeming with doctor quotes, tales, exaggerations and untruths. When he was shouted, he usually offered an apologetic shrug or a guilty grin and went on. Many were willing to forgive him.

At least so far. The revelations that the Prime Minister and his staff were partying in Britain under coronavirus restrictions sparked public outrage and prompted many in the Conservative Party to consider expiring their leader.

Conservatives chose Johnson because the image of a cheerful offender – the naughty schoolboy of British politics – gave him a rare ability to connect with voters. Many people are thinking second now.

“His fans would say he’s the power of nature – he won’t let things get in his way,” said Steven Fielding, a professor of political history at the University of Nottingham.

“Sometimes he was caught, but mostly he escaped,” Fielding added. “Now the reality is becoming apparent to more and more people.”

Johnson was often able to discuss a way out of crises. The words of the Oxford-educated politician gave the impression of a rumpled joking blonde hair wiper who doesn’t take himself too seriously. Drops and jokes fall out of it, sometimes in Latin or Ancient Greek.

This person has made Johnson a popular guest on the humorous TV show “Have I Got News for You” since the late 1990s and made him world-renowned as the mayor of London from 2008 to 2016.

Many thought he was too light to be prime minister, and Johnson did not object to them. He disguised his ambitions with jokes, saying he had as much chance of being prime minister as “finding Elvis on Mars” or “reincarnating as an olive”.

In fact, he had long dreamed of power. Her sister, Rachel Johnson, said her childhood ambition was to be “world king”. But the road to the summit was random.

As a young journalist for The Times of London, he quoted II. About King Edward from a historian who happened to be his godfather. He was fired, but that did not stop him from being a Brussels Telegraph correspondent in the early 1990s and publishing exaggerated stories about EU waste and bureaucracy. Plans to ban “Euromyths” and “flexible bananas” about universal condoms helped turn British views against the bloc and eventually led to Johnson becoming the Brexit champion, who had taken the UK out of the EU years later.

Brexit was won by a 2016 referendum campaign that contained many questionable allegations, namely the claim, repeated by Johnson, that Britain would give the EU £ 350 million a week to the UK’s health services instead. translate.

Johnson suffered an early political failure when Michael Howard, then a conservative leader, was fired in 2004 for lying about an extramarital affair. A month earlier, Howard had forced him to apologize to the City of Liverpool for accusing its residents of being “immersed” in becoming a victim.

Opponents argued for a long time that Johnson’s loose conception of facts — and a history of offensive remarks — made him unfit for high office. Over the years, Johnson called the Papuan New Guineans cannibals, arguing that Barack Obama’s ancestors in “part of Kenya” were averse to Britain, and likened Muslim women with a veil covering their faces to “letter boxes”.

Johnson usually responded by classifying the offensive remarks as a joke or accusing reporters of digging out old-fashioned remarks. Attacking the media – along with “left-wing London lawyers” – has long been Johnson’s populist tactic. His biographer Andrew Gimson called him the “Merry England PM,” who portrays his opponents as unhappy puritan.

Now, however, Johnson’s allies fear the tide has turned around. In his unusually restrained and carefully worded statements, Johnson apologized to the parties for breaking the blockade. He stopped admitting his personal sins and said he believed he had acted within the rules.

But many Britons who insisted on government-imposed closure rules – barred from friends and family and not allowed to visit relatives in nursing homes and hospitals – mocked Johnson’s “party gate” objections, including his claim to “bring your own” pia ”garden party was a workplace event.

Chris Curtis, head of political opinion research at Opinium Research, said public confidence in the prime minister had plummeted and Johnson’s personal liking was “pretty awful.”

“It’s always been true that the public would prefer to drink a pitcher with Boris Johnson, but he wouldn’t necessarily trust him to take care of their children,” Curtis said. “But what we’ve seen with this crisis is that by now, people say they’re less likely to drink a pitcher with it – and people really wouldn’t trust it to take care of their children.”

Next week, senior civil servant Sue Gray is expected to close an investigation into the party charges. Unless it turns out Johnson has deliberately broken the rules, Conservative MPs could hold back a vote of no confidence to overthrow him.

However, Fielding said the Johnson brand is now irreversibly contaminated, even if the immediate crisis is over.

“It will drag on, but I don’t think it will pull back to a level that will make it a viable leader of the Conservative Party in the next election,” Fielding said. – He’s a dead duck.

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