Queen’s Jubilee: Boris Johnson arrives at St Paul’s Cathedral
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The second day of Platinum Jubilee celebrations saw a tense Prime Minister, alongside wife Carrie Johnson, step out of his car and walk up the stairs to the London cathedral for a thanksgiving service in honour of Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year reign greeted by an interesting chorus of both boos and cheers. After months of controversy over “Partygate”, which led to resignation demands across the political spectrum, jeers among the public — with one person heard shouting “f* off Boris” — came as no surprise. Yet, some of those raising their voice at the event were branded contradictory.
Observers took to social media to express their views on Saturday’s scene.
One Twitter user, John West, said in response to footage of Mr and Ms Johnson walking into St Paul’s Cathedral, with a stir in the background: “Crowds of woke, Union-Jack waving, left-wing monarchists and nobility boo the Johnsons.”
Others described the episode as reflective of the public’s anger over the rule-breaking gatherings that took place in and around No10 during lockdown.
User @oatesjonny, suggesting the boos might well be coming from Conservative backers, said: “Booing of Boris Johnson as he walked up steps of St Paul’s seems like a very significant moment – the crowd is hardly a bunch of left-wing agitators.”
User @SHAVED27, along similar lines, wrote: “Boris Johnson getting booed by people wrapped in Union Jacks tells you how bad it’s gotten.”
And @Elfvandel20 added: “If these Union Jack wavers hate Boris then his brand truly is cooked.”
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During the service, which the Queen was forced to pull out from after it is believed she experienced episodic mobility issues during Friday’s celebrations, Mr Johnson gave a reading from the bible about integrity.
Quoting a passage from Philippians 4:8, the Prime Minister said: “Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable … think about these things.”
Last week, senior civil servant Sue Gray released the findings of her long-awaited report on parties at Downing Street at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 37-page document highlighted a culture of excessive drinking and “examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff”, with Ms Gray claiming political and official leadership in No10 “must bear responsibility”.
Several politicians have been angered about “Partygate” but have cited factors such as the war in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis as reasons why they keep on supporting the Prime Minister.
While most Tory MPs still appear to back Mr Johnson, more than 20 backbench Conservatives have publicly called for the Prime Minister to go.
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Meanwhile, determined rebels believe they are close to reaching the threshold of 54 no-confidence letters needed for a leadership challenge.
But several cabinet ministers are loyally defending Mr Johnson.
Jacob Rees-Mogg said this week the Prime Minister remained “an enormous electoral asset”.
He added: “I think the idea that a change of leader would help the Conservatives is for the birds.
“It would be the most divisive thing that the party could do.
“It’s an exceptionally silly thing to want to try and open the door to Sir Keir Starmer, assuming he manages to survive.”
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His chief of staff, Steve Barclay, said in the wake of Ms Gray’s report: “I work very closely with him. He is focused on our response to Ukraine. He is focused on the huge challenge economically for families, for your viewers, in terms of the cost of energy, the cost of food, he is getting on with the job.”
Speaking on Sky News, he added: “He has been getting the big calls right but he accepted, in terms of some of these incidents, that there were lessons to be learned.”
Other senior politicians who attended the Queen’s thanksgiving service included Home Secretary Priti Patel and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, while former prime ministers were there to pay tribute to the monarch, too.
When Labour leader Keir Starmer arrived, just minutes after Mr Johnson, the crowd stayed quiet.
Back on social media, user Angela M pointed at being booed by a crowd made up of royalists as a worrying sign.
She said: “Johnson avoids crowds which have not been carefully curated.
“He couldn’t avoid that today and the response is exactly how he knew they would be.
“Boos coming from a pro-royalist flag-waving crowd probably shocked him though.”
Fiona Small echoed her words as she wrote: “Boris Johnson being heavily booed by Union Jack waving monarchists might actually be the signal to the Conservative Party that he needs to go.”
Twitter user @groovy_chi added: “Who would have thought the union Jack teapot brigade and the Boris haters would have such an overlap.”
Additional reporting by Vassia Barba
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