Politics

Boris Johnson, that Downing Street party and what happens if the Prime Minister resigns



Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing copious amounts of backlash and is being urged to resign by many after admitting to attending a rule-breaking party during the 2020 lockdown.

The boozy Downing Street parties took place in May 2020 and will now be the subject of an inquiry.

The PM has since issued a groveling apology but could be forced to stand down if he is found to have misled the House with previous denials, reports Birmingham Live.

Simultaneously saying sorry and offering a defence of his actions, Johnson said he believed at the time the party he attended was a “work event” permitted under the rules when he “went into that garden”.

He said: “I want to apologise. I know that millions of people have made extraordinary sacrifices over the last 18-months.”

The Prime Minister attended the party just 55 minutes after Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told the public at a press conference: “You can meet one person outside of your household in an outdoor, public place provided that you stay two metres apart.”

He now faces cross-party calls to resign from the likes of the SNP, Labour Party and even Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, if he lied about lockdown parties.

The SNP’s Ian Blackford said the public overwhelmingly thinks the Prime Minister should resign.

Blackford said: “Trust has been lost and the public will not forgive or forget.”

While former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson was not convinced by the PM’s apology expecting it would do little to stem public anger.

She tweeted: “I’m not convinced today drew a line under anything either.”

But what is next for Boris Johnson and what happens in the UK Government if the Prime Minister does resign?

Here is all you need to know.

What happens when the Prime Minister resigns?

When a Prime Minister resigns, the subsequent events are conditioned by context surrounding their departure.

If a PM resigns following a loss in a general election, they offer their resignation to the monarch and the winning party then forms a government.

However, if Johnson, or any other PM was to resign during parliament, the process is far longer and follows many more processes.

Under conventions of the UK’s unwritten constitution, Britain must have a Prime Minister at all times.

Therefore, a standing prime minister departing automatically triggers a leadership contest – but does not leave straight away.

The appointment of a new party leader can takes up to a month and includes arduous campaigning, jostling for position and various behind the scenes machinations.

When the leadership contest is decided, the outgoing prime minister will go and offer their resignation to the Queen, and advise she appoints the new leader of the party as prime minister – this is largely ceremonial.

Commonly, incoming Prime Ministers choose to hold a general election to reinforce their power, but this is unlikely in 2022.

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