Sunday, June 26, 2022

How Boris Johnson’s calls to Zelenskyy were announced shortly after the Prime Minister’s biggest crisis

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While No. 10 denies those timings are intentional, Mr Johnson’s close relationship with the war hero President emphasizes his role as an international statesman – shifting focus from the flak he faces domestically

And it seems their bond could help take some of the heat off of Mr. Johnson’s own domestic woes.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Boris Johnson and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy have had a close personal friendship – they spoke regularly on the phone, praised each other’s bravery and even held a secret meeting in Kyiv.

Analysis of I The timing of Mr Johnson’s phone calls with President Zelensky shows that they often coincidentally coincided with moments of the prime minister’s greatest crisis.

While No 10 denies those timings are intentional – and it would be impossible to suggest they are meant to coincide – Mr Johnson’s close relationship with the war hero’s President emphasizes his role as an international statesman – and shifts the focus from flak, with he faces domestically.

On Wednesday night, for example, less than an hour after it was announced Lord Geidt had resigned as the Prime Minister’s ethics adviser, Downing Street released details of Mr Johnson’s recent conversation with the Ukrainian president.

On the morning of June 6, three hours after Sir Graham Brady announced there would be a vote of confidence on Mr Johnson’s Prime Ministership, No 10 announced that the Prime Minister had just spoken to President Zelensky.

And on April 12, the day Mr Johnson was fined by the Metropolitan Police for Partygate, it was revealed the two men had been holding talks that day.

Downing Street said it was “categorically wrong” that the phone calls were deliberately timed and that they were mutually agreed between London and Kyiv. When they take place depends on the availability of Mr. Zelensky, who has many pressing issues and is taking up his time.

While the phone calls can be by mutual agreement, No10’s gift is the timing of the announcements.

And it is true that while the Prime Minister’s personal ratings have fallen since the beginning of the year over the Partygate scandal, they have recovered somewhat following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, when Mr Johnson pledged funding, equipment and solidarity to President Zelenskyy and his people.

Given that the Prime Minister is regularly embroiled in political troubles in Westminster, it is perhaps not surprising that these phone calls coincide with his crises. It is indeed commendable that the prime minister still makes time to speak to Mr Zelensky on days when he is battling deep political issues at home.

But analysis shows that as of late March, all Johnson-Zelensky calls came at potentially dangerous times for the PM and his government.

Aside from Lord Geidt’s resignation, the day of the vote of confidence and Mr Johnson being fined by the Metropolitan Police, here’s what happened on the days he spoke with the President of Ukraine:

On May 19, Scotland Yard announced that it had concluded its investigation into Partygate by handing 126 fines to people in Downing Street, making it the UK’s most fined location. At 1:21 p.m. that day, it was revealed that Mr Johnson had held talks with President Zelensky.

On May 5, the day of local elections when the Conservatives are expected to lose hundreds of seats, interest rates rose to 1 percent, their highest level in 13 years. A call was announced at 3:54 p.m.

On April 30 Conservative MP Neil Parish resigned at 5pm after days of allegations of Tory defamation over porn viewing in the House of Commons. At 7.26pm another call was announced between Mr Johnson and Mr Zelensky.

On April 23, when reports emerged that people attending the ‘BYOB’ Downing Street garden party would be fined, a phone call was announced at 5.30pm.

A phone call was announced at 6:16 p.m. on April 16, the day the government’s immigration plan in Rwanda was heavily criticized by the United Nations.

On April 2, just after 6pm, it was announced that Tory MP David Warburton (who denies any wrongdoing) had been suspended from the party over sex and drug allegations in the Sunday Times. At 8.37pm another PM call was announced involving Mr Zelensky.

When the Guardian reported on March 28 that the first fines were expected from Met Police via Partygate, a call was announced at 6.33pm.

And on March 23, the true extent of the cost of living crisis was revealed in the spring statement, which gave details that Britain is facing the worst drop in living conditions on record. At 4.42pm a call was announced between Mr Johnson and the President.

A spokesman for No10 said: “This is categorically wrong. The times for these calls are mutually agreed upon and understandably often depend on President Zelenskyy’s availability. Any other suggestion is ridiculous.”

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