“I have been informed of numerous examples of disrespect and mistreatment of security and cleaning staff. It was unacceptable,” Gray wrote.
Gray wrote that the “top leadership at the center” of the Johnson administration “should be held accountable” for a culture that allowed parties.
Despite gory details about people vomiting on walls, fighting in Downing Street corridors, and evidence in many cases that those inside the building knew what they were doing wrong, Johnson’s job is not in immediate danger.
Since the next general election is not scheduled for 2024 and Johnson currently holds a large majority in Parliament, only his own Conservative MPs can fire the Prime Minister, and in fact any would-be rebels lack both numbers and power.
This feeling that they’re stuck with Johnson, whose personal approval ratings have been falling since the start of last year’s scandal, is driving conservatives crazy. They are concerned that Johnson has done irreparable damage to his image in the eyes of a majority of voters who have finally seen “what he really is,” as one senior conservative put it. The only thing left is for his reputation to be tarnished by the rest of the party – something that opinion polls and recent election results show has already begun.
“Since he took office, his extraordinary personality has dominated the political agenda, and it’s good when the public finds you funny and affable,” says one Conservative MP and former cabinet minister. “The problem now is that the country has learned more about what this person really is, but it is still so huge that it overshadows everything else.”
The current government minister told CNN that “there is no doubt that his image has gone from being a reckless Brexiter to a law-breaking liar.”
Numerous conservatives who spoke to CNN agreed that the damage to Johnson’s image is exceptionally serious for a man who has been in the public eye for so long and has such an established set of strengths and weaknesses.
“We all have a friend who we know probably does bad things, but we don’t see him do such things, so we can pretend that it’s really not all that bad,” says Rob Ford Professor of Political Science at the University of Manchester.
“When we see evidence of how bad they really are, it’s not surprising, but it’s still harrowing. This is what is happening to the people who continued to support Johnson. Their worst suspicions are confirmed.”
Speaking in Parliament moments after the report’s release, Johnson said he was “humiliated” and “learned his lesson,” adding, “I take full responsibility for everything that happened before my eyes.”
But he also reiterated previous claims that the parties only escalated after he left, and insisted that he was “surprised and disappointed” that several drunken events took place despite taking place in the same building. as his own office and apartment.
And he suggested that the cramped quarters of government buildings and the “extremely long hours” of his staff responding to the Covid-19 crisis could explain why several parties and social gatherings took place.
“I briefly attended such meetings to thank them for their service, which I believe is one of the primary responsibilities of leadership,” Johnson said.
Trivial as it may sound, Johnson has long been seen as Britain’s troubled partner. Previously, he was fired from his job for writing a quote and another one for an alleged novel. He exaggerated the truth beyond recognition during the Brexit referendum. He gives the impression of indelicate and irreconcilable. And that’s great until the public stops forgiving you.
“He has always managed to avoid the cliché previously applied to conservative leaders about elitism and aloofness. Somehow he avoided the caricature,” says Salma Shah, a former adviser to the conservative government.
“Inevitably, now that he holds the highest post in the country, stricter oversight is a given,” she said. “What hurts the Partygate report, however, is that it really challenges Boris’ brand as a popular hilarious character and makes that cliché applicable to him.”
In the medium term, the Conservatives are concerned they have two more years of Johnson in office. “Over time, he became more divisive. I hope he will reach out to try to unite at least the party, but I am afraid that his instinct is such that he will cling and pounce if something goes against him, ”says the senior defender.
Others pointed to Johnson’s previous difficult moments as prime minister, when he sent allies to defend him through the news channels only to reverse government policies and leave them in a ridiculous state.
“Those who are still going to defend him because of Partygate under increasingly ridiculous circumstances will in time be affected by the stain he spilled on the Conservative Party,” says Ford.
“If the polls can be trusted, most voters are now convinced that Johnson’s Downing Street is a place where vomiting and spilling wine and then being rude to the cleaners who have to clean it all up is considered acceptable behavior. No MP wants to be bound by this,” adds Ford.
MPs had previously said they would wait for Gray’s report before deciding whether to act against Johnson. Now some say they will wait for an investigation to determine if Johnson lied to Parliament.
A government minister who spoke to CNN said they believe the real moment of truth will come in two snap elections on June 23. murderous evaluation of the party under Johnson. At this point, some of us will start thinking about our own places, I suspect.”
Ultimately, people within the party will want an autopsy on how Johnson came to power in the first place, given that his shortcomings were widely known in Westminster.
Numerous current and former advisers who have worked with Johnson in various positions in and out of government describe him as someone who has a temper and rarely truly believes he has done anything wrong.
Nearly everyone who previously worked for Johnson and spoke to CNN described at least one instance where he snapped at his junior staff for putting him in a position where he was open to criticism from the media or his political opposition. .
One former employee attributes this to Johnson’s obsession with being liked. “No wonder he used to be a media figure,” they say.
“When you’re a columnist, you can say whatever you want so that people find you funny. When you run a country and what you do really impacts people, you can’t demand that they like everything you do.” —Former Employee. adds.
The observation that Johnson’s personality is a box of contradictions is hardly new. He wrote columns that appealed to the Conservative Right, playing the role of the Liberal Mayor of London. And for a long time the game worked both ways.
Indeed, Partygate could put an end to Johnson’s plate spinning activities. He may remain in power for a while longer; he may even fight—and win—for re-election.
But very few people believe that he can play the role of a serious statesman during a global pandemic, as well as presiding over a culture in which your employees throw illegal parties, puke in government offices, and then be rude to people who wipe it – – and remain at the same time. universal popularity.