Analysis: The government of Boris Johnson in a fresh vortex of accusations of gloom and embarrassment

Wednesday night, JohnsonMEPs voted with a whip to lift the suspension of a fellow Conservative MP.

Owen Paterson, an influential Conservative member and former cabinet minister, faced a 30-day suspension after he was accused of “massive” violations of lobbying rules.

Paterson sent several emails to government officials on behalf of the two companies, who paid him £ 100,000 ($ 136,000) as a consultant. Paterson claims to have expressed concerns about the quality of milk and pork; Kathryn Stone, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, disagrees.

On Wednesday, Paterson persuaded Johnson’s government to support an amendment that would repeal his suspension and instead refer the case to a newly formed parliamentary committee of deputies chaired by one of his conservative colleagues, John Whittingdale.

The response was so severe that the government appeared to have turned on Thursday morning, indicating that proposals to lift Paterson’s suspension would not be met.

A Downing Street spokesman said in a statement: “There must be strict and robust controls against profit lobbying. There must be an appropriate process to review and – if necessary – discipline those who do not follow the rules.”

On Thursday afternoon, Paterson announced he would step down as an MP, saying, “The last two years have been an indescribable nightmare for my family and for me.”

Add to that the already bad look, Johnson left the COP26 summit in Glasgow on Wednesday before the vote and flew back to London from Scotland, voted on an amendment to protect Paterson, then, sources confirmed to CNN, they attended a private dinner at the men-only club with former colleagues at the conservative-oriented Daily Telegraph. He now faces criticism for leaving the climate talks he hosts on a private jet.
Opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer called the turnaround and attempts to set up a new committee “outright corruption”. He writes in the Guardian, he says “rot begins at the top. We have a prime minister whose name is synonymous with embarrassment, fabrication and hypocrisy.”

Downing Street has not yet responded to Starmer’s criticism.

It is true that Johnson and his government face accusations of subjugation on many fronts. For example, an investigation is underway into how exactly Johnson is financed the renovation of his apartment on Downing Street.

The prime ministers receive £ 30,000 ($ 41,000) of public money a year to renovate their official residence during their term, and Johnson is expected to cost £ 200,000 ($ 280,000). He was accused of trying to get conservative donors to pay for the work, plans that his former adviser Dominic Cummings called “unethical, stupid and (and) perhaps illegal”. Johnson denied any violation.

Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie attend a reception at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit on June 11, 2021 in Cornwall, England.
Johnson faced sharp criticism at the time painted painting in a luxury holiday villa on the same day, a report critical of the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic was published.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the British government was also accused of giving lucrative contracts to people affiliated with the Conservative Party. Transparency International UK, a respected campaign group, reported that one in five contracts awarded to private companies drew attention to one or more red flags. They highlight the government’s “high-priority” or “VIP” belt, which has been shrouded in secrecy and has effectively eliminated competition for public money. The government has repeatedly claimed that a fair and correct procedure has been carried out.

Johnson is also accused of trying to get a conservative-friendly, right-wing former newspaper editor, Paul Dacre, to a leading position in Britain’s media regulator Ofcom.

Boris Johnson leaves the stage after a speech at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on November 1st.

The government appointed a lobbyist with very close ties to the Conservative Party as a senior external interviewer for the post, which was considered an attempt to smooth the way for Dacre.

In addition to all these problems, Johnson’s private life has not gone without scandals in recent years. He was charged have an affair with someone who, at the time he was mayor of London, was receiving public money, which he denies and for some time did not want to reveal in detail how many children the father has.

Sadly for the opposition Labor Party, these scandals do not necessarily mean a public condemnation of the government. While Starmer is right in his claim that for some, Johnson’s name is synonymous with embarrassment, other voters in this prime minister have cooked up a certain amount of scandal.

“It’s no news to anyone that Boris Johnson is a man who plays fast and loose with the rules. This is not an aspect of his personality that he has tried to hide from the public in his long career,” says Rob Ford, a professor of politics at the University of Manchester. . He points out that although Johnson’s poll numbers are declining, “this is unlikely to be related to bullshit, more gloss resulting from vaccines. But in terms of key figures, it is still enough ahead of it to win the election. ”

While that doesn’t hurt Johnson at the moment, anyness, Ford notes, is accumulating over time.

“It could affect him. Sleaze is more like a corrosive fog than an immediate problem. It could accumulate. Many of the voters he gained with Brexit support were distrustful of politicians in the first place, so there could be a time when he it suddenly hurts badly. ”

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