British prime minister Boris Johnson missed a scheduled video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday because he was forced to defend his conduct to MPs following the publication of a long-awaited report into the ‘Partygate’ scandal, UK media has claimed.
According to reports, Johnson had been due to speak with Putin at 4pm GMT, amid heightened tensions between Moscow and the West over Russia’s allegedly imminent plan to invade Ukraine. However, the talks are said to have been shelved so that the prime minister could appear before parliament.
Earlier the same day, senior civil servant Sue Gray handed over her findings from an inquiry into a series of alleged social gatherings in Downing Street during Covid-19 lockdowns, accusing Johnson and his team of “failures of leadership and judgement.” The prime minister apologized to lawmakers, but rejected calls for his resignation from the opposition.
A Downing Street source told The Telegraph that the call had been put on hold, and was unable to confirm when it would be rescheduled. However, later on Monday, the prime minister’s spokesman claimed there had been no official time set for the leaders to speak, but insisted they were still hoping to arrange an appointment for the call.