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18 Jun, 2023 11:47

UK minister apologizes over ‘Partygate’ video

A 45-second clip shows revelers dancing and drinking at Conservative Party headquarters during a Covid-19 lockdown
UK minister apologizes over ‘Partygate’ video

Senior British MP Michael Gove apologized to the public on Sunday following the release of what he described as “terrible” footage, which shows Conservative Party staffers holding a Christmas party during a Covid-19 lockdown in December 2020. 

The video, which was published on Saturday by the Mirror newspaper, shows several Tory party staff members dancing and drinking at a time when the British public were banned from socializing indoors due to Covid-19 restrictions. Two of the people featured in the footage were officially recognized by former UK PM Boris Johnson in his recently announced resignation honors list, Reuters reported on Sunday. 

“It’s terrible,” Gove, the minister in charge of housing and ‘leveling up,’ told Sky News on Sunday. “I think it’s completely out of order. I just want to apologize to everyone really.” 

The clip also shows revelers dancing beside a sign which reads ‘Please keep your distance.’ One person can be heard asking the cameraman, “Are you filming this?” Another says: “As long as we are not streaming that we’re, like, bending the rules.” 

The release of the video clip follows a British parliamentary committee ruling on Thursday, which found that Johnson deliberately misled an investigation into parties that took place at his office during lockdown restrictions. 

The former British leader was also “complicit in a campaign of abuse and attempted intimidation” towards parliamentary investigators, the report found. Johnson dismissed the report as “a lie” and a “charade.” The ‘Partygate’ scandal contributed to Johnson’s downfall as British prime minister, and remains a dark cloud over the leadership of Rishi Sunak. 

Johnson resigned as a member of parliament on June 9, days before the privileges committee issued its verdict on his role in being complicit to holding lockdown-flouting social gatherings in Westminster. 

The ‘Partygate’ scandal has contributed to a deep malaise in Conservative support in the United Kingdom. Recent polls have suggested that the opposition Labour Party currently hold an advantage of around 20 percentage points – with a general election required to be called by the end of next year at the latest.