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Boris Johnson's Last Affair?

Given all the UK prime minister’s many other failings, many people may wonder why his attendance at parties at 10 Downing Street during pandemic lockdowns could finally seal his political fate. His cardinal sin is to have forgotten the core tenet of the rule of law: those who make the rules are also bound by them.

CAMBRIDGE – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the enfant terrible of British politics, is currently embroiled in a very British scandal. As in the recent eponymous BBC television miniseries based on the infamous 1963 Argyll v. Argyll case, at stake is a high-profile divorce. But, this time, the potential split is political. And Johnson’s supposed Teflon shield finally shows signs of wearing thin.

On January 31, a report by civil servant Sue Gray highlighted “failures of leadership and judgment” regarding gatherings that took place at 10 Downing Street at a time when Johnson’s government was imposing stringent COVID-19 restrictions on the rest of the country. Gray’s report was then referred for further investigation by the Metropolitan Police.

Under scrutiny are at least 12 “wine and cake” gatherings, several of which Johnson is known to have attended. In the wake of the revelations, more than a dozen Conservative members of Parliament have submitted letters of no confidence in Johnson (54 such letters would trigger a formal vote of no confidence among Tory MPs). In addition, five of the prime minister’s key aides – including longstanding confidante Munira Mirza, often called “Boris’s Brain” – have quit. Calls for Johnson to go are growing louder.