'Partygate', Pincher and more: The scandals of Boris Johnson's premiership
Boris Johnson will announce his resignation as British Prime Minister on Thursday, a government source said, after he was abandoned by ministers and Conservative Party lawmakers who said he was no longer fit to govern. After days of battling for his job, Johnson was abandoned by all but a handful of allies after the latest in a series of scandals broke their willingness to support him.
Below are some of the scandals that have hurt Johnson politically:
THE PINCHER AFFAIR
Mass resignations from the government this week followed accusations by a senior former civil servant that Johnson's office gave false information about past sexual harassment allegations against lawmaker Christopher Pincher.
In February, Johnson appointed Pincher deputy chief whip, giving him responsibility for the well-being of other Conservative lawmakers.
Last week, Pincher was suspended from the party after acknowledging he had made other people uncomfortable during a drunken night out.
It subsequently emerged that Pincher had been the subject of past sexual harassment allegations.
Johnson's office initially said the prime minister had been unaware of specific past allegations against Pincher. However, on Monday, senior former civil servant Simon McDonald wrote a letter saying he had investigated the allegations in 2019 and had upheld the complaints.
The term "Partygate" was coined to refer to a scandal over parties held in government, including in Johnson's own Downing Street office, which were found to have violated strict COVID-19 lockdown rules.
Johnson himself was fined by police for attending a birthday party, and was forced to apologise to Queen Elizabeth after it emerged staff had partied in Downing Street on the eve of her husband Prince Philip's funeral in April 2021.
She had been seated alone at the funeral because mixing indoors was banned.
A report by a senior civil servant gave a damning account on a series of illegal lockdown parties, detailing instances of staff's excessive alcohol consumption and vomiting.
Parliament is still investigating whether Johnson misled lawmakers on repeated occasions when he denied being aware of illegal parties.
Johnson says he sincerely believed at the time that gatherings did not break the law, but accepts now that he was mistaken.
OTHER SEX SCANDALS
Johnson's Conservatives have been hit by other scandals of lawmakers accused of sexual improprieties, including two that led to lawmakers resigning. In both cases, the Conservatives lost special elections held last month to replace them.
Conservative lawmaker Imran Ahmad Khan resigned after being found guilty of having sexually abused a 15-year-old boy. Neil Parish, another Conservative lawmaker, resigned after admitting he watched pornography on his phone in the House of Commons twice, in "a moment of madness".
Another Conservative lawmaker has been arrested on suspicion of rape, sexual assault and other offences. The lawmaker was bailed in May and has not been identified in the media to protect the identity of the alleged victim.
OWEN PATERSON AFFAIR
Last year, parliament's standards committee recommended suspending Conservative lawmaker and former minister Owen Paterson for 30 days after finding he had committed an "egregious case of paid advocacy" by lobbying on behalf of companies that paid him.
The Conservatives initially voted in parliament to halt Paterson's suspension and overhaul the process of investigating lawmakers. After damaging headlines, Paterson resigned and the government abandoned the proposed changes. The Conservatives lost the election to fill Paterson's seat.
PROBE ON REFURBISHMENT
After a refurbishment of Johnson's Downing Street flat - led by a celebrity designer and including gold wallpaper - Britain's electoral commission fined the Conservatives 17,800 pounds for failing to accurately report a donation to pay for it.
Johnson's ethics adviser later criticised the prime minister for failing to disclose some messages exchanged with the donor. However, he concluded that Johnson had not intentionally lied about the messages.
China's southern island province of Hainan started mass Covid-19 testing on Sunday, locking down more parts of the province of over 10 million residents, as authorities scramble to contain multiple Omicron-driven outbreaks, including the worst in capital Sanya, often called “China's Hawaii”. The number of cases in the province, rapidly spreading across the island located on the South China Sea, has crossed the 1100-mark from August 1 until Sunday noon.
Bangladesh on Sunday sought cooperation from China to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar during a visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who promised better trade ties, investment and support for infrastructure development in the South Asian nations. Yi arrived in Dhaka on Saturday evening and met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen. Amid recent tensions between China and Taiwan, Bangladesh issued a statement reiterating its support for the “one-China” policy.
Britain's prime ministerial candidate, Rishi Sunak, has shared that there was “clearly something” when he met his now wife, Akshata Murty – the daughter of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy – at a university in the US. In an interview with 'The Sunday Times', the former Chancellor opened up about his family life as he reflected on one of the secrets behind his marriage being the fact that the couple are very different people.
The Chinese military will from now on conduct "regular" drills on the eastern side of the median line of the Taiwan Strait, Chinese state television reported on Sunday, citing a commentator. The median line has never been legally recognised, and is an "imaginary" line drawn up by the U.S. military for their combat requirements in the previous century, according to the state television commentator.
After Sri Lanka's devastating crisis, thousands of protesters took to streets in several cities in Bangladesh after the Sheikh Hasina government hiked fuel prices by nearly 52 per cent, the highest since the neighbouring country got its independence. The Bangladesh government has blamed the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war for the hike in fuel prices. Bangladesh raised fuel prices will trim the country's subsidy burden, the government expects.