STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was met with a mixed reaction from the crowd gathered for the second day of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration as he arrived with his wife Carrie at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on Friday.
Both cheers and boos could be heard when the formally dressed couple was walking up the stairs of the cathedral for the National Service of Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Johnson’s political opponent, Labour leader Keir Starmer, was met with complete silence.
Neither Johnson nor Carrie appeared to be bothered by the boos and whistling as they were smiling and chatting to each other on the way to the cathedral entrance. During the service, they also seemed to be in good spirits. The prime minister read a short excerpt from the Bible in front of the congregation, which was full of royals, dignitaries, and current and former politicians.
The four days of festivities come as Johnson battles mounting calls to resign both from the opposition and fellow Conservatives over the ‘Partygate’ scandal. An investigation into 16 gatherings that took place at government buildings during Britain’s nationwide lockdowns of 2020 and early 2021 concluded that many of them “should not have been allowed to happen.” The author of the report, senior civil servant Sue Gray, also stressed that Johnson has to personally “bear responsibility for this culture.”
Despite growing pressure for a confidence vote from within his own party, the prime minister said that he was not going to “abandon” the nation as it faces economic hardships and the conflict in Ukraine.
Starmer, who over the last few months has repeatedly criticized Johnson for breaking the Covid rules, is now facing similar issues. The police are conducting an inquiry into a curry party that took place in the city of Durham last April. The so-called ‘Beergate’ investigation was opened after footage emerged showing the Labour leader sipping beer at the allegedly illegal gathering.
Starmer denies any wrongdoing but earlier made clear that if he were given a fine, he, unlike the prime minister, would resign.