UK: Johnson under renewed pressure to resign announces tourism boost
By Hamed Chapman
London, (The Muslim News): Despite being in the midst of a third Covid wave, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Tuesday called on international tourists to visit the UK but failed to distract attention away from renewed demands for him to resigning following fresh allegations about holding yet another illegal party in Downing Street.
“The UK is officially one of the most open countries in Europe and ready to welcome visitors from across the globe,” the Prime Minister announced after the latest leak from ITV that his then fiancée threw him a surprise party for his birthday 19 June 2020 in defiance of prevailing Covid rules at the time banning indoor gatherings.
“The UK is home to thousands of world class attractions, unbeatable hospitality and incredible history and culture. 2022 also promises a host of unmissable events – from Her Majesty’s Jubilee to the Commonwealth Games. Now is a fantastic time to book a trip and enjoy the best the UK has to offer,” he declared.
But in a tweet, opposition Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer, said the Prime Minister was a “national distraction” at a time when millions of people are struggling to pay their bills.
“Boris Johnson and his government are spending the whole time mopping up their own rule-breaking, sleaze and deceit. He’s got to go,” Starmer said.
Ed Davey, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said reports that Johnson held yet another party “can’t go on any longer” and it was “time he saved the country even more pain and resigned.”
“Party after party, lie after lie, this disgraced Prime Minister brings more pain every day to bereaved families who have already suffered too much. It is clear now the Sue Gray inquiry is not fit for purpose. The Met must investigate this to deliver justice for millions who sacrificed so much during this pandemic,” Davey said.
A further statement from the SNP’s Westminster Leader, Ian Blackford, also called Johnson’s behaviour “a disgrace.” It is “clear the Prime Minister repeatedly broke the rules and lied about it. He is unfit for office and he has to go.”
In the latest alleged breach of rules, his office admitted that Carrie Johnson held a party for the Prime Minister and up to 30 staff despite the lockdown banning indoor social gatherings and limited outdoor gatherings to groups of six.
“Tory MPs must remove him without further delay. The longer they wait, the more damage they do to any remaining public trust in the UK Government and broken Westminster system. This is now a question of their own integrity. There simply cannot be one rule for the most powerful people,” Blackford said.
Sue Gray, the senior civil servant leading the inquiry into Downing Street parties, is expected to make deeply critical recommendations on overhauling No 10’s operation after hearing of repeated failures of leadership, according to the Guardian quoting a Whitehall source who gave evidence.
In his attempt to distract attention away from the scandals embroiling his premiership, Johnson reverted yet again to boasting about what he called the “phenomenal success” of the vaccine booster campaign to claim the “UK is officially one of the most open countries in Europe and ready to welcome visitors from across the globe.”
His Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, was also brought into the campaign, saying that “2022 is set to be a blockbuster year with an unmissable opportunity to see world-class sports in the Commonwealth Games, culture and creativity through the Unboxed events and royal pageantry as we mark the Queen’s 70-year reign.”
“We already have one of the most open economies in Europe with the least restrictions, and because of these changes we now have a travel sector to match it.
This final step in our stable and safe full return to international travel is a major boost for UK tourism,” said Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps.
The UK has one of the worst records in the world in responding to the pandemic, suffering virtually the highest infection and death rates among leading countries. New daily cases hit a record of over 200,000 as recently as January 4 and have average over 100,000 since, according to official figures.
[Photo: Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Milton Keynes University Hospital Surgery Unit on 24 January 2022. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street]
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