British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was greeted with a chorus of booing and cheers as he arrived at a Thanksgiving service for Queen Elizabeth on Friday, in a public reflection of mounting pressure on his leadership.
Johnson and his wife Carrie, who climbed the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral to leading members of the Church and the nation’s military, smiled and walked on as an audible boo came from some of the thousands of royal fans lining the streets.
Others in the crowd clapped and cheered.
Johnson has faced widespread calls from opposition politicians, and some in his own party, to resign over a ‘party gate’ scandal that showed that both he and Downing Street officials are breaking strict laws his government passed during created the pandemic.
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Johnson came to power in 2019 with a pledge to complete Britain’s exit from the European Union and win over voters across the political spectrum drawn to his irreverent and often chaotic style of government.
But a cost of living crisis and revelations about his behavior during the pandemic have seen his personal popularity plummet in opinion polls, and a growing number of lawmakers in his own party have called on Johnson to quit.
Friday’s hostile response, from a crowd hoping to see members of the royal family and celebrate a national occasion, may alarm Johnson’s party amid speculation he could soon face a leadership challenge.
It had echoes of an occasion in 2012 when the then Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was roundly booed by thousands of spectators at the London Paralympic Games, a clip that was repeated throughout his career.
The Thanksgiving service was held on the second day of the four-day national platinum anniversary celebration.