LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s powers were undermined on Thursday when lawmakers opened an investigation into whether he had deceived parliament and urged him to step down a powerful former ally.
Johnson had been fighting for months for his political survival after telling Parliament that his Downing Street office had followed all lockdown rules during the Covid-19 pandemic and an internal report later found the venue was the scene of alcohol-fueled parties. season.
Johnson has since been fined by police. He denies deliberately deceiving Parliament, a reason to resign, and says he made a mistake, not realizing that he was breaking the rules. The Prime Minister apologized for his behaviour.
During the parliamentary debate, politicians on all sides called on Johnson to step down, and lawmakers backed an opposition motion that his comments “appear to describe an attempt to deceive the House” and should be investigated by the concessions committee. Johnson’s Conservative Party members did not object.
The episode raises questions about Johnson’s future. More fines and party disclosures could still be imposed during the lockdown, and local elections scheduled for May 5 are likely to reveal voter confidence in his leadership has been badly shaken.
“I don’t want this to go on indefinitely. I have absolutely nothing to hide, frankly,” Johnson told Sky News when asked about the investigation during a visit to India.
In the discussion leading up to the vote on the motion, a Conservative MP who was once an ally of Johnson said the prime minister should now resign.
Steve Baker accused the Prime Minister of breaching the “letter and spirit” of the law, adding: “The Prime Minister should have been long gone by now… He (he) should have known that the show was over.”
Baker, the former minister, strongly supported Johnson during Brexit and still retains influence among Conservative lawmakers after he was able to coordinate their resistance to attempts to soften Brexit.
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