‘Even schoolchildren are laughing at him’: What the world thinks of Boris Johnson

International media criticise British prime minister for his ‘faint sorry’ over partygate scandal

Boris Johnson apologises in Commons after party probe report

Boris Johnson has been ridiculed by the international press after the publication of Sue Gray’s redacted report into alleged lockdown parties in Downing Street.

The civil servant’s findings, which were partially released on Monday, had to be scaled back so as not to prejudice an ongoing Metropolitan Police investigation. Nevertheless, they presented a damning picture of failures of leadership in government. The French daily Le Figaro called its conclusions “stark”.

"The hardship under which citizens across the country worked, lived and sadly even died while observing the government’s regulations and guidance rigorously are known only too well," Ms Gray wrote.

"At times it seems there was too little thought given to what was happening across the country in considering the appropriateness of some of these gatherings,” she added.

Responding to the 12-page document, the British prime minister apologised to the country on Monday but still cut a defiant figure in the Commons, as he refused to resign over the debacle. Politicians from all parties, including several Conservatives, rebuked Mr Johnson for his behaviour.

In the international media, some of the harshest criticism against him came from Russia, with the Gazprom Media-owned NTV channel suggesting he was the “most disliked, disrespected and ridiculed character in Britain”.

It added that he was “completely under the control and heel of his young wife”, and for good measure that even the young ridiculed him.

“Even schoolchildren are laughing at him,” it said.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin-backed broadcaster Rossiya 1 claimed his “anti-Russian” stance on the situation in Ukraine was “a way to divert attention from domestic problems”. Mr Johnson is currently in Kyiv to show his support for the country against a massive Russian military build-up at its border.

Over in Germany, the Bild tabloid poured scorn on Mr Johnson’s “faint sorry” in the face of the “devastating preliminary investigation”. The paper also noted that the prime minister is “increasingly controversial even within his own party”.

“Many excuses, but I’m staying in my place” was the Italian Il Giornale’s summary of the premier’s approach to demands for his resignation.

The French-language Belgian newspaper Le Soir took a similar view. “The British PM has no choice but to present himself as a bad student and admit his guilt, but wants MPs to give him another chance,” it wrote.

In the American press, The New York Times said Ms Gray’s report “deepened the crisis that has engulfed Mr Johnson for weeks”, while describing his Commons appearance on Monday as “bruising”.

Elsewhere, a CNN opinion piece judged that “this wily fox of a prime minister” had not emerged “unscathed”.

The British leader’s political future appears safe for now at least, since a no-confidence vote is unlikely to be triggered soon by Tory MPs.

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