Johnson doesn’t have to count on a comeback: ‘The British want calmer waters’

International22 Mar ’23 22:00Author of the book: Remy Cock

Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was questioned under oath today on allegations of party-baiting and still maintains he did not deliberately mislead Parliament. But United Kingdom reporter Leah van Beghoven can’t call it credible.

Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was questioned under oath today on allegations of party-baiting and still maintains he did not deliberately mislead Parliament. But United Kingdom reporter Leah van Beghoven can’t call it credible. (PA)

He insists that the bottom line is whether parties are organized at 10 Downing Street or not. ‘We know that now,’ he says. Johnson agrees. What matters today is whether Johnson as Prime Minister knew he was lying when he told Parliament that no parties had been organized during the lockdown.

Also Read | Parliamentary committee hears Boris Johnson

During the trial, Johnson admitted, among other things, that social distancing was not always observed, but that if the rules were violated, it was only related to essential work matters. He also referred to a controversial meeting in the garden of the Prime Minister’s official residence attended by forty guests, all of whom brought their own bottle. ‘It’s also a working group,’ insists Johnson,’ says van Begwen. “He also accepts that the general public won’t see it.”

A lot

Van Beckhoven can’t be sure what the outcome of the session will be, although he thinks Johnson is ‘not comfortable with it’. “He was interrogated by seven members of the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry,” Van Begoven continues. “Sometimes you could really tell he had had enough. He was impatient, uncomfortable and angry.’

Also Read | Johnson prepares for ‘Particate’ apotheosis

Johnson will have prepared himself well, says Van Beckhoven. “With the help of one of the best and most expensive lawyers in the country, he interrogated him for hours in a kind of role-playing game,” he concludes. “But I don’t think it went the way he wanted.”

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Prime Minister again?

Although rumors of a possible return to the prime ministership have become increasingly rife, Van Beckhoven believes these will have been significantly weakened by the investigation. According to Van Bekoven, Johnson is very likely to lose his seat. “The most severe punishment the commission can impose on him is a suspension of ten days or more,” he says. “It will lead to re-election in his constituency.”

And Johnson risks losing his seat anyway in next year’s general election. And even if he gets a seat elsewhere and can stay in politics, Van Beckhoven reckons the prospects remain bleak. “For Johnson, of course, it’s all about getting back as prime minister,” he concludes. Particate kills him at that point, and he looks forward to his return. But times have changed. The British are in calmer waters, calling politics boring again, and they seem to like it that way.

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