UK PM Boris Johnson to face grilling over lockdown parties
London, Jan 26: Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face heated opposition from lawmakers in Parliament on Wednesday, as the backlash over the "partygate" scandal grows.
A much-anticipated report is also expected to be released on Wednesday that will determine whether he or members of his staff broke rules during coronavirus lockdowns.
The internal inquiry into allegations about potentially illegal parties at Johnson's Downing Street offices is expected to deliver its findings soon. It's though the conclusions could determine the prime minister's political fate.
Opposition to demand answers
Johnson faces interrogation from opposition politicians, and possibly from members of his own Conservative Party on Wednesday, in a weekly Prime Ministers' Questions (PMQs) session.
Even when the political landscape is comparatively calm, PMQs are notoriously punchy events, often featuring feisty and heated exchanges between prime ministers and the opposition benches.
Speaking on Wednesday morning, UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss said that the prime minister had not yet received the Cabinet Office's internal report on the investigation.
The report has been described by sources who have seen it as "frank," and likely to make "very uncomfortable reading" for Johnson.
One of the parties — a birthday celebration for Johnson himself — allegedly took place during the first COVID-19 lockdown in June 2020. At that time, social gatherings indoors were banned.
Police investigation launched
The London Metropolitan Police force on Tuesday said it would investigate a series of events held in Downing Street, where Johnson also lives.
The criminal probe followed numerous allegations and complaints that the police force had previously declined investigating.
Cressida Dick, the head of the Metropolitan Police, revealed the decision had been taken partly as a result of information passed to police from a Cabinet Office inquiry being carried out by the UK Civil Service. The investigation had also been launched because of officers' own assessments, Dick said.
She said police had waited to start an investigation because it would "not normally be a proportionate use of officers time" to probe allegations that surfaced so long after they were said to have taken place.
rc/rs (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)