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Ari Winkleman & Annie Gugliotta

The Graphic Truth: Boris hangs on by a thread

Boris Johnson is famous for weathering controversy — from alleged affairs to partygate — often emerging stronger than before. But since taking office, the British PM has been caught in so many political scandals that most Brits, and many in his own Conservative Party, have now turned against him. Still, Johnson narrowly survived a no-confidence vote on Monday and lives to fight yet another day. We take a look at his approval ratings as prime minister, highlighting a few of the dramas that have eroded his popularity.

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    British PM Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for PMQs at the House of Commons on February 02, 2022 in London, England.

    Wiktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto

    What We’re Watching: Boris no-confidence vote looms, Robocop vs Tunisian judges

    Getting to 54. Boris Johnson is the famous comeback kid of British politics. But he may be running out of options given his myriad scandals. A wave of high-profile resignations and defections within the Conservative Party and the departure of five senior staffers have increased the likelihood that the embattled PM will soon face a no-confidence vote. Tory MPs who’ve soured on Johnson believe they are only a dozen signed letters away from the 54 needed to trigger the process as early as this week. Meanwhile, there’s growing pressure to release an unredacted version of the Gray Report about multiple parties held at 10 Downing Street during COVID lockdowns. If the full report confirms Johnson lied to parliament about attending one of the parties, expect a lot more than 54 votes to give him a pink slip.

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    British PM Boris Johnson makes a statement on Sue Gray's report regarding the alleged Downing Street parties during COVID-19 lockdown, in the House of Commons in London, Britain, January 31, 2022.

    UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS

    What We’re Watching: More Boris drama, Orbán-Putin meeting, US governors vs Biden

    Boris Johnson’s stormy Monday. British PM Boris Johnson’s political life got even more complicated on Monday as the highly anticipated “Gray Report” went public, even in heavily redacted form. The report summarizes a parliamentary investigation of parties held at 10 Downing Street during periods of tight COVID restrictions. It remains redacted because many of the events detailed in it are under formal investigation by UK police. But the report still raises questions that Johnson struggled to answer — or simply evaded — during a stormy session of the House of Commons. MPs are drawing particular attention to a party that allegedly took place in Johnson’s residence on November 13, 2020. That damning detail could cost the prime minister support from members of his own party, because Johnson denied during a parliamentary session in December 2021 that any such event took place. If the unredacted Gray Report and police investigation reveal that he lied, it could mean the end of Johnson’s premiership.

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    Activists take part in a protest against China's treatment towards the ethnic Uyghur people and calling for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, at a park Jakarta, Indonesia, January 4, 2022.

    REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

    What We’re Watching: Xinjiang at the Beijing Olympics, Boris in deep(er) trouble, Indonesia’s new capital

    Selling Xinjiang. Xi Jinping — a man well known for both his grand vision of China’s future, and for his willingness to get large numbers of people to do things they might not otherwise do — said in 2018 that he wanted 300 million Chinese people to participate in winter sports. The Chinese government announced this week that this goal has been met in honor of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, which open in China’s capital on February 4. Multinational companies are consistently impressed by the commercial opportunities created when 300 million people decide to try new things. But it’s an inconvenient truth that most of China’s most abundant snow and best ski slopes are found in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, a place where Western governments and human rights organizations have accused Beijing of imprisoning more than one million minority Uyghurs in re-education camps. In these prisons, critics say inmates have experienced “torture, and inhumane and degrading treatment.” As China’s government opens new profit opportunities in Xinjiang, multinational corporations will face pressure from multiple directions not to invest there.

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    Boris Johnson's Resignation Looming | Blinken's Visit to Ukraine | World In :60 | GZERO Media

    Boris Johnson's days are numbered as UK PM; Blinken, Biden, Putin & Ukraine

    Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week, discussing Boris Johnson's tenuous status as UK PM, US Secretary of State Blinken's visit to Ukraine, and the volcano eruption in Tonga:

    Will Boris Johnson resign?

    It certainly looks that way. He's hanging on by his fingernails. He's losing members of Parliament. He's giving shambolic media interviews. In fact, I think the only people that don't want him to resign at this point is the Labour Party leadership, because they think the longer he holds on, the better it is for the UK opposition. But no, he certainly looks like he's going. The only question is how quickly. Is it within a matter of weeks or is it after local elections in May? But feel pretty confident that the days of Boris Johnson are numbered.

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    No Progress After Russia-US Talks, Party is Over for Boris Johnson | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

    No progress after US/NATO-Russia talks, Boris Johnson in trouble

    Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Kiev, Ukraine

    First question, how is the crisis in this part of Europe developing?

    Not good. There's been a week of intense diplomacy with talks in Geneva, and Brussels, and Vienna that produced virtually nothing. The Russian, sort of key demands are outrageously unrealistic. They know that is the case. The US is trying to engage them on somewhat different issues. We'll see if there's any prospect there, but it doesn't look too good. I think the likelihood is that we gradually will move into the phase of what the Russians call military technical measures, whatever that is.

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    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a briefing on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Downing Street, London, Britain, January 4, 2022.

    Jack Hill/Pool via REUTERS

    What We’re Watching: BYOB Boris, Kim Jong Un’s new toys, China will lend less to Africa

    “Bring your own booze.” It’s an old story: the damaging reveal that the political elite holds the public to a different standard than it holds its own leaders to. News emerged on Tuesday — courtesy of Dominic Cummings, the UK prime minister’s former political adviser turned bitter political foe — that Boris Johnson’s private secretary had invited more than 100 people to a "bring your own booze" party at the PM’s official residence… in the middle of a coronavirus lockdown in May 2020. Johnson and his wife have not denied they were there. To be clear, this is not the same party that his staff was caught on video laughing about during another lockdown over Christmas in 2020. Is the political ineptitude even more damaging than the hypocrisy? Either way, Johnson’s government is now in real trouble. The PM faces a parliamentary grilling on Wednesday, and may not survive a leadership challenge from within his Conservative Party later this year. At a time of bitterness over his handling of COVID and consumer pain from rising prices, this was not the story Britain’s prime minister needed.

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    What We’re Watching: Biden's omicron woes, a Tigrayan withdrawal, UK's new Brexit chief

    What’s Biden omicron plan? The omicron variant has set up shop in the US, and COVID cases nationwide have risen 20 percent in the past two weeks. New York City is a hotspot with more than 20,000 new cases per day. President Biden will address the nation on Tuesday to detail the steps his administration will take to try to curb the spiraling outbreak. It’s already clear that he plans to double down on a messaging strategy centered on vaccines and boosters – having recently released a strongly worded warning that the unvaccinated should prepare for a “winter of severe illness and death.” But will Biden address — and rectify — more immediate challenges like testing capacity, which is buckling under the pressure of a surging caseload? What guidance will he give Americans about holiday travel just four days before Christmas? Biden promised to bring an end to the pandemic and get the US back to normal. With public confidence in his competency at a record low, public perception of his ability to manage this latest outbreak could make or break the Democratic Party’s electoral prospects in 2022 and beyond.

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