The British Prime Minister, Boris johnson, announced on Wednesday new restrictions against the variant coronavirus omicron, while trying to weather the general outrage over a Christmas party supposedly held in Downing Street when it was banned by the covid-19.
On Friday the masks will again be mandatory in all interior places. On Monday he will return to teleworking. Health passports will also be imposed to access places such as nightclubs.
With 568 cases identified in the country, and a real number “surely much higher”, “it is increasingly clear that the omicron spreads much faster” than previous variants, Johnson explained, at a press conference where he had to defend the credibility of your government, accused of having violated anticovid rules last Christmas.
The controversy has not stopped growing for more than a week and put the prime minister in trouble: a poll by SavantaComRes showed that 54% of those polled believed that he should resign.
In an attempt to calm things down, the Conservative leader announced in the House of Commons that he had “asked the cabinet secretary to investigate” if members of your staff broke the rules.
If so, “there will be consequences,” he promised, stating “to understand and share the anger of the entire country,” claiming to be “furious” over a video leaked to the press in which his former spokesperson, Allegra Stratton, and other collaborators joked about the alleged Illegal party, an “offense” for which Johnson apologized “without reservation.”
Stratton, a renowned 41-year-old former journalist who in October 2020 was chosen to become the face of government communication, conducting daily televised press conferences in the style of the White House, was the first victim of the scandal.
Between sobs at the door of her house, this close associate of Johnson, married to the head of Politics of the conservative magazine The Spectator, of which the prime minister – also a journalist – was editor-in-chief, announced her resignation before the television cameras. .
– Cheese, wine and laughter –
The controversy revolves around an alleged night meeting held on December 18, 2020, in which according to the press they participated until 50 members of Johnson’s office, with food, drink and games.
There is also talk of another meeting, a farewell party in which Johnson himself would have given a speech, but to which the prime minister did not want to refer.
In recent days, he denied that the rules that at that time prohibited all indoor social encounters had been violated. But the video, released Tuesday night by the private ITV channel and seen by millions of people, seemed to contradict this version.
In it Stratton, special adviser Ed Oldfied and other aides prepared on December 22 for compromising questions, in a rehearsal of the new press conferences that in the end never saw the light.
There were no journalists and Stratton – who later became a COP26 spokesperson and special adviser – was responding to a question from Oldfied about an alleged Downing Street Christmas party the previous Friday.
“This imaginary party was a business meeting” with “cheese and wine” and “no social distances,” he jokes.
“Would the Prime Minister approve of a Christmas party?” Oldfied raises, to which Stratton reacts confused and humorous.
– Police investigation –
The opposition denounced that the impression that the leaders are not respecting the rules can lead the British to skip the new rules. Johnson and his team “are treating the public with contempt,” denounced Labor Party leader Keir Starmer.
For their part, the London police claimed to be examining the video in relation to “alleged breaches” of anticovid law.
The controversy sparked outrage in Johnson’s ranks as well. And Conservative MP Roger Gale warned that “deliberately misleading the House of Commons it would be a reason to demand the resignation “of the prime minister, who some also place in the illegal meetings.
But this, proving his ability for political escapism, limited himself to defending that he had been assured that the rules were always respected and that if they were not, those responsible will be punished.
With 66 million inhabitants and more than 145,800 dead since the start of the pandemic, the United Kingdom is one of the countries hardest hit by covid-19, and its government was severely criticized for the erratic policies applied at the beginning of the crisis sanitary.
KEEP READING: The advance of the Omicron variant today, December 8: It has been detected in almost 60 countries; mild cases abound