Boris Johnson is the first British leader on record to have broken the law. Scotland Yard had come to believe in early 2022 that Johnson had breached COVID-19 restrictions at private parties while his country was in lockdown. However, the fact that he said he tried cocaine and cannabis as a student did not get him in trouble with the law.
Those who have followed Johnson’s career are hardly surprised by these and the many other scandals of the past months and years. But only now could they actually become his political downfall.
This week, the heads of finance and health, several secretaries of state and the Attorney General for England and Wales resigned in a wave because they no longer agreed with the Tory Prime Minister’s leadership.
There have been a number of resignations in his cabinet, but the current number is unprecedented. It might have been one misstep too many for Johnson this time. A look back at his recent scandals.
Boris Johnson wanted to send the British House of Commons on vacation for the period from September 10 to October 14, 2019 – and thus significantly longer than usual.
This extraordinary decision was criticized as a tactical maneuver to prevent Brexit-critical MPs from launching counter-offensives against Johnson’s exit policy.
In September 2019, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the extended leave of absence was unlawful, void and ineffective – a court could hardly say more clearly that government action was not in line with constitutional practice.
In the autumn of 2021, Tory MP Owen Paterson will be accused by the House of Commons Oversight Committee of not declaring high-paying part-time jobs and using his MP’s office for business meetings.
In doing so, Paterson broke parliament’s lobbying rules and, according to the committee’s proposal, should be suspended for 30 days.
Boris Johnson has now tried to prevent Paterson from being expelled by changing the rules for investigating such cases. Under pressure from the public, Johnson eventually reversed the decision.
On several occasions, Boris Johnson has been conspicuous for not having reported income in accordance with UK parliamentary standards: income from the rental of his flat was not properly reported, nor were royalties from a book publication.
In December 2021, the Electoral Commission published the results of an inquiry into the use of donations to the Conservative Tory party.
According to this, Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie Johnson commissioned an expensive renovation of the private living quarters at 10 Downing Street, but the work was paid for with undeclared donations to the party. A fine of the equivalent of 20,000 euros was imposed on the Tories.
In this context, however, one allegation relates directly to Boris Johnson himself: a large part of the renovation is said to have been paid for with a donation from Lord Brownlow of Shurlock Row and in return Johnson may have promised the wealthy lord to promote a cultural project – which at least has been published Whatsapp messages from November 2020 near.
Also at the end of 2021, details of several meetings and garden parties that Conservative party members and political associates of Boris Johnson had attended became public – while the life of the British population was massively restricted to prevent the spread of the corona virus.
The picture was devastating: politicians do not follow the rules, which actually apply to everyone. Boris Johnson apologized to the House of Commons on January 12, 2022 for a May 2020 garden party he attended. At first, however, it was said that the meeting was a working meeting – until the Guardian revealed a photo of the meeting, which clearly gives the impression of a party with wine.
Johnson’s new defense: No one warned him the meeting was against the rules. This was contradicted by his former advisor Dominic Cummings, who did warn Johnson.
Also in January 2022, it was announced that Johnson had thrown his own birthday party at the seat of government. Scotland Yard intervened. The prime minister received a police warrant and paid the fine for violating COVID-19 restrictions at private celebrations, police said.
An official inquiry from May 2022 concluded that between May 2020 and April 2021 several of the meetings criticized took place at No 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office in violation of the applicable corona restrictions.
On June 6, 2022, the Tories held a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson. The reason for this was the recent scandals. The prime minister, who would have lost his positions as party leader and head of government in the event of a defeat, narrowly survived the vote of no confidence with 211 MPs to 148 votes.
Boris Johnson made Chris Pincher Deputy Parliamentary Secretary on February 8, 2022, but Pincher resigned at the end of last week. It had previously become known that he is said to have sexually molested two men. Pincher denies abuse. Johnson initially said he had no knowledge of any allegations against Pincher at the time of Pincher’s appeal.
The government has since acknowledged that even before Pincher’s appointment, Johnson was well aware of past misconduct. At the time of Pincher’s resignation, however, he was initially unable to remember it and now regrets having appointed Pincher at all.
The Pincher affair led to a series of resignations in the Johnson administration. The most prominent politicians who have publicly voiced their distrust of Johnson as of Wednesday are Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Minister of Health Sajid Javid.