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Covid party

'The party's over, Boris': British papers slam Johnson as pressure mounts over No 10 parties

The Telegraph is among the papers to report that Johnson’s premiership is in jeopardy over a series of No 10 lockdown parties.

THE UK PAPERS are dominated by the pressure mounting on Boris Johnson after it was revealed on Monday that his office organised a gathering in No 10 Downing Street during a lockdown in the summer of 2020.

The front pages are a litmus test for the public’s mood ahead of Johnson’s much-anticipated appearance before the House of Commons today for Prime Minister’s Questions, scheduled for each Wednesday at noon.

Among the most notable critical front pages in today’s British papers are The Telegraph, a pro-Boris Johnson paper for which he used to write as a columnist. The paper has published a poll today that has found 66% of the public think Johnson should resign.

It also points out that yesterday, when a junior government minister faced the Commons to answer questions from MPs over the lockdown summer party, the benches on the Government’s side of the room were “almost empty”.

The Independent reports an extraordinary revelation that No 10 staff were told to delete messages about parties, according to its sources – as investigations into a series of gatherings at No 10 in 2020 loom.

The Daily Star also asks the Prime Minister to answer the allegations that have been circulating in recent days, including a quote from the satirical British political TV show for the 1980s, Yes Minister.

The Sun reports on “fury” at Boris Johnson, who the paper says “lies low”, while the Metro puts grieving families’ claims that the Prime Minister has shown “contempt” for those who died during the pandemic in the paper’s top spot.

The Daily Express is the only paper with an optimistic approach to Johnson’s situation, sporting the front-page headline: “Winning war on Covid, fixed Brexit … don’t blow it now PM!”

On Monday, ITV published a photo of an email from Boris Johnson’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds inviting Downing Street staff to the gathering in May 2020.

The disclosure triggered a new wave of public anger following the reports last year of parties in the run up to Christmas 2020, with Tory MPs openly warning Boris Johnson his position will be untenable if he has been shown to have lied.

Downing Street has refused to say if he was present at the May event, despite reports he and his then-fiancée, now wife Carrie Symonds, were among around 30 people to attend at a time when such gatherings were banned.

The Prime Minister has said it is a matter for Sue Gray, the senior civil servant who is investigating a series of reported parties in Downing Street and elsewhere in Whitehall in the course of 2020 to determine what happened.

However, Conservative MPs warned that such a position was simply unsustainable as Johnson must know whether he was at the Covid-rule breaking gathering or not.

Tory backbencher Nigel Mills warned that any senior figure who willingly attended the event could not have a position where they were responsible for setting Covid-19 policy.

With reporting from the Press Association.

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