As calls continue to grow demanding UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s resignation over the so-called ‘partygate’ scandal, Oliver Dowden, the co-chair of the Conservatives Party, has cautioned against any such move, saying doing so would be ‘dearly damaging to the country.’
“I expect PM Johnson to lead the Conservatives into the next general elections, expected in about two years. He is getting ‘those big calls’ right, and the uncertainty that would come with a change of guard would be dearly damaging to the country,” Dowden told Sky News.
The 42-year-old leader of the Tories also said he does not believe the premier ‘misled’ Parliament. “He is perfectly open to the Privileges Committee to conduct that investigation, and Parliament consented to that, so I don’t think a scenario would arise in which he has to resign on being found he lied to MPs,” Dowden further told Sky News.
On being asked why Johnson should remain in office, Dowden talked about the ‘really important’ jobs the former is doing, pointing to Johnson’s recent 2-day visit to India, as well as his handling of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, which, since February 24, has been under an invasion by Russia.
Dowden’s backing for the British prime minister came days after MPs, on April 22, voted in favour of referring the 58-year-old leader to a Parliamentary panel to probe whether he ‘deliberately’ lied to parliamentarians over the alleged Covid-19 lockdown breaches during events in Downing Street.
While Johnson initially denied any wrongdoing, the Metropolitan Police, which is probing the case, fined him and Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for attending indoor gatherings during one of the Covid-19 lockdowns, when rules prohibited such events.
While the Conservative leader has issued a ‘wholehearted apology’, he has refused to step down.
UK ministers found to have lied are expected to resign from office. Johnson is also the first sitting British PM to have violated a law.
(With Bloomberg inputs)