Boris Johnson Says He Will Still Be Prime Minister In October Despite Partygate
Boris Johnson has insisted he will still be Prime Minister by October, despite facing political turmoil over the partygate scandal.
Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi, the Prime Minister said the British public want to move on from partygate and "focus on the issues on which we were elected".
Johnson described parliament's decision to refer him to the privileges committee, which will investigate whether the Prime Minister misled the Commons over partygate, as a "kick of the cat".
"We had a pretty good kick of the cat yesterday... we did all that," the Prime Minister said.
"Not that I am in favour of kicking cats, I should say," he added.
Johnson is in India to discuss defence, energy and trade ties with his Indian counterpart and “friend” Narendra Modi.
However, the two-day trip has largely been overshadowed by domestic political wrangling in the Prime Minister’s own ranks over partygate.
Yesterday MPs voted unanimously to refer Johnson to parliament’s privileges committee, for an investigation into whether misled the Commons over parties held in Downing Street and Whitehall.
In his New Delhi speech, Johnson pledged to secure a trade deal with India by Diwali, a major religious festival celebrated by Sikhs and Hindis in India in October. Asked if he would still be Prime Minister by then, Johnson answered unequivocally: "yes".
Conservative whips initially tried to delay Thursday's vote, but backlash from backbenchers and members of government led to a sudden U-turn on the plans.
On Thursday the Prime Minister visited Gujarat, Modi’s birthplace, where he announced a £1 billion package of investment and exports deals set to create 11,000 new jobs in Britain.
Johnson also visited a factory, university and cultural sites before heading to the Indian capital of New Delhi on Friday for talks with Modhi.
The two leaders announced the agreement of a new defence and security partnership, which will see the UK and India work together to combat threats across land, sea, air, space and cyber.
“This morning we’ve had wonderful talks and I think that they have strengthened our relationship in every way,” Johnson told a press conference on Friday morning.
“In challenging times, it is very important that we – the khaas dost – get closer together and I believe the partnership between Britain and India – one the oldest democracies – Britain is one of the oldest and India certainly the largest democracy, is one of the defining friendships of our times.”
During the press conference, Johnson also confirmed the UK will be reopening its embassy in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
"The extraordinairy fortitude and the success of President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people in resisting Russian forces in Kyiv means that I can announce today that next week we will reopen our embassy in Ukraine's capital city," he said.
The Prime Minister also confirmed reports from Western intelligence officials that the conflict in Ukraine could last until the end of 2023 and there is a sizeable chance Russia could come out victorious.
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