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Two more British MPs withdraw support for Johnson, call for his resignation over 'partygate'

UK PM Boris Johnson gestures in 10 Downing Street during a gathering on the departure of a special adviser, in London on Nov. 13, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Two lawmakers from the UK’s ruling Conservative party have withdrawn support for Prime Minister Boris Johnson after a damning report by civil servant Sue Gray was published, detailing COVID-19 rule breaking parties at the No. 10 Downing Street office.

Conservative lawmakers John Baron and David Simmonds announced on Thursday that they could no longer support Johnson as he had misled parliament over the "partygate" scandal.

“Given the scale of rule-breaking in No. 10, I cannot accept that the prime minister was unaware. Therefore his repeated assurances in parliament that there was no rule-breaking is simply not credible," Baron said in a statement, adding that Johnson “knowingly” deceived the MPs.

“I'm afraid the prime minister no longer enjoys my support, I can no longer give him the benefit of the doubt,” said Baron, who was first elected in 2001.

He said Gray's report and the Metropolitan Police's investigations painted a “shameful pattern of misbehavior” during the pandemic.

Simmonds, on the other side, called on Johnson to resign, saying that he has lost the confidence of the public.

“It is time for him to step down so that new leadership can take forward the important work of the government,” he said in a damning statement.

More than 15 Conservative MPs have publicly called on Johnson to step down from premiership since the reports of lockdown-breaking parties exposed the real face of Johnson.

However, the premier has refused to resign despite accepting the “bitter and painful” conclusions of the senior official’s inquiry that revealed lurid details of partying in the government. 

To trigger a no-confidence vote in the parliament, 54 Conservative lawmakers need to confidentially submit their letters to the chairman of the party’s 1922 Committee.

Hitherto, Johnson has been fined over just one event, despite being pictured drinking at another gathering. Accordingly, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has demanded an explanation into the police decisions.

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