Boris Johnson has decided to change the rules of the British “ministerial code” to avoid resignation for his role in ‘Partygate’, as revealed by ‘The Guardian’. To date, the violation of the ministerial code was equivalent to the resignation of a public position, but the changes introduced by the ‘premier’ will allow him, however, to continue in his position asking for an apology or temporarily losing his salary.
The policy statement published by the Johnson Government on Friday justifies the changes by saying that “it is disproportionate to expect that a violation (of the code), however minor, will automatically lead to resignation or dismissal.”
The move comes two days after the full publication of the report by senior official Sue Gray, blaming the ‘premier’ for “lack of leadership” and implicitly asking him to take “responsibility” for the violations of the Covid rules during 15 parties held in Downing Street during the pandemic, with rivers of alcohol until four in the morning, vomiting, altercations and karaoke, while millions of Britons could not even say goodbye to their relatives at funerals.
Johnson himself, who was fined 118 euros by the police for participating in his own birthday party, has assumed “full responsibility” in his testimony in Parliament, but has reiterated his intention not to resign in the midst of the war in Ukraine and in the face of the cost of living crisis: “I have the overwhelming feeling that I must continue in my position”.
His maneuver has been criticized by the Labor opposition as a new attempt to elude the control of Parliament, which has decided to open its own investigation into whether he lied when he told the House of Commons on at least eight occasions that they had not been raped. Covid rules in Downing Street.
The new version of the “ministerial code”, just published, stipulates that ministers will in future be able to evade resignation and face “a public apology, corrective action or temporary suspension of salary” if they retain the confidence of the prime minister.
The legal text preserves, however, the resignation as a disciplinary measure for “false testimony in a knowing manner” before Parliament, something that Boris Johnson has repeatedly denied during the ‘Partygate’, alleging that he has always considered the acts investigated as events of work and that he did not believe that the rules of the Covid had been violated.
Interestingly, in the new version of the “ministerial code” the mentions of “honesty, integrity and transparency” in the performance of public office have disappeared from the preamble.
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