Everyone in Britain who can get to a TV screen or has the BBC iPlayer on their phone will be tuning in to Boris Johnson for Prime Minister's Question Time today. It is not unreasonable to suggest that this might end up being Boris Johnson's last stint as Prime Minister, depending upon what happens next. And it's all over a Colin The Caterpillar birthday cake.
Rewind. In the last month or so, the Conservative Government of Great Britain & Northern Ireland has been riven by accusations that, during the lockdowns of 2020, the government disobeyed their own rules, and held a series of parties in Downing Street and other government buildings. While people couldn't see their loved ones, even in their last days and couldn't even attend funerals, government was living it up. Initial denials have been knocked down by repeat media investigations, and every few days there have been details of more shenanigans. Boris Johnson found himself in the excruciating position of having to apologise to the Queen for parties that were held the night of her late husband's funeral, where she sat alone on the church pews. Whether that was government employees being sent to local supermarkets to fill up suitcases of alcohol to wheel across Westminster, party invites being sent out widely and the latest, that Boris Johnson held a birthday party for himself with dozens in attendance, not all of whom he was working with. And with alcohol, Marks & Spencer party food and a birthday cake, There have been extreme reactions as details of these events have dripped out over days, with each media organisation finding their own rule-breaking story to expose. Press secretaries have resigned over their role, one Conservative MP crossed the floor to join the Labour Party over this, and others are expected.
This came to a head on Channel 4 News last night when Conor Burns MP became an instant meme by claiming that Boris Johnson was ambushed by a birthday cake, leading people to bring up episodes of Brass Eye and The Thick Of It.
An internal government report being carried out by civil servant Sue Gray is expected to report back today, and every government member has been passing the buck to say they are waiting for the report. But that may have been overtaken by a police investigation into the same matters. But if Boris Johnson is not exonerated by Sue Gray, the odds are he will have to resign, or there will be a leadership challenge within the Conservative Party, that might replace him as leader – and Prime Minister.
The Conservative Party, which has stayed consistently ahead in the polls, is now consistently behind, and no replacement Conservative candidate seem to shift those poll numbers. Will it be Rishi Sunak? Will it be Liz Truss? Will it be Michael Gove? Or will, given his ability to brush everything off, will it still be Boris Johnson? Naturally comic book folk want to have their say.
After UK government culture secretary Nadine Dorries tweeted "So, when people in an office buy a cake in the middle of the afternoon for someone else they are working in the office with and stop for ten minutes to sing happy birthday and then go back to their desks, this is now called a party?", Neil Gaiman quote tweeted it, adding "So, when you just sidle over to a Victorian sex worker in the East End in the middle of the night and stop for ten minutes to stab and eviscerate her and then go back to the Palace, this is now called a murder?"
- Gary Frank: He was ambushed by a cake. No doubt he suffered under torta. Stop groaning. You f***ing love it.
- Andy Khouri: Gary. This is not a trifling matter.
- Jamie Delano: Having your cake and lying about it… It's the lying part that should nail him. But I don't suppose that's likely.
- Mike Collins: When my youngest got married in 2020 after delays and restrictions only the two moms were allowed at the registry office, the dads stood outside in the cold, not able to be part of it. Screw Boris and his birthday delights. They don't understand how angry we all are.
- Boris Johnson: "I've seen no evidence of plotters being blackmailed" well he didn't realise he was in a party for 20 minutes so his observational skills aren't great.
- Andy Diggle: Non UK folks, wondering WTF…? We wouldn't be so pissed off if the police hadn't used the same law Boris flouted to arrest attendees of a peaceful candle-lit vigil for Sarah Everard. She was falsely arrested under this law, kidnapped, raped, and murdered. By a police officer.
- Peter Hogan: If the Cabinet are "rallying around" Boris Johnson, then they should resign too. None of them have any scruples whatsoever.
- Jamie Delano: If you've never watched "The Death of Stalin", now might be an apt time to do so.
- Steven Grant: Not sure there's ever NOT an apt time to do so. You're talking about Boris? (The coverage is spotty here.)
- Jamie Delano: I prefer to term him The Liar Boris Johnson. ;) But yes, I take your first point.
- Rob Williams: Lads, I'm beginning to think he might be a bit fast and loose with the truth, our PM.
- PJ Holden: Their inherent "individual exceptionalism" made it impossible, and they assumed people would be exactly the same -thinking somehow they, the tories as the party in power were a good representation of the people. But they're not. Not by a long shot.
- AlexPaknadel: It *is* possible to not want Boris Johnson to be Prime Minister anymore *and* worry about Russia invading Ukraine at the same time. Most of us can walk and chew gum.
- John Lees: Aye, I hate the complaint of "There's a crisis going on in Ukraine and you're all focused on the latest fiasco from the PM," as if it's us to blame for looking at the stinking trash fire rather than him for setting it.
- Fraser Campbell: I find Johnson party apologists in this context particularly offensive. People aren't angry because of cake. And of course this is before we touch on the point that who in their right mind would want Johnson leading us during a military stand-off?
- John Lees: Sadly, I imagine there's a not-entirely-insignificant demographic out there who are right now thinking, "What we need right now is a good war, that'll get the public to rally round and Back Boris again."
- Fraser Campbell: The swivel-eyed lunacy of wanting a bewigged blancmange to lead you into battle. Of course, it helps if you aren't the one dying.
Prime Minister's Question Time begins in an hour-and-a-half, where Boris Johnson will be grilling by Kier Starmer, other members of the opposition, and his own party. Bring the cake.