Boris Johnson was greeted by organized groups of well-wishers waving British and Indian flags along the route, but the Partygate scandal loomed throughout the two-day trip
Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson had hoped to jet away from his partygate woes on a long-delayed trip to India.
But despite flying more than 4,000 miles, the Prime Minister couldn’t escape the scandal that engulfed him at home.
The prime minister landed in the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on Thursday, where he was greeted with a red carpet.
His motorcade was greeted by organized groups of well-wishers waving British and Indian flags who lined the route.
The Prime Minister was also greeted by dozens of massive placards emblazoned with the message “Welcome to Gujarat” on his face. Mr Johnson later told India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he felt like legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulker.
He joked to Indian media, “I wouldn’t necessarily get that anywhere in the world.”
POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Mr Johnson could easily have spoken about Westminster, where he is facing mounting anger from his own MPs over his botched handling of the Partygate saga.
The scandal loomed during the two-day trip, during which the increasingly testy prime minister tried and failed to shift focus to trade deals, energy and security partnerships with India.
Mr Johnson’s goals for the trip were unclear – to make positive headlines about a post-Brexit trade deal and urge Modi to take a tougher stance on Russia. But he ended up also facing questions about why he hadn’t cracked down on Ukraine – and his decision to visit a JCB factory near Gujarat owned by Tory donor Lord Bamford.
The Prime Minister, accompanied by journalists, flew out on his taxpayer-funded plane on Wednesday night, where he vowed to stay in the next election – and said Partygate was not important to voters.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
When the prime minister arrived in Gujarat on Thursday, he was spotted distracting himself with a quick swim in the hotel pool. But as temperatures hit 42C on Thursday – and Partygate dominated the headlines at home – it was clear Mr Johnson was feeling a different kind of heat.
Standing in the blazing sun at Akshardham Temple in Ahmedabad, he became increasingly irritable when asked about Partygate, checking his watch and telling Sky News: “Getting on to the topic of the journey”.
The questions continued at a news conference on Friday, where he appeared upset at repeated questions about his political future.
But an Indian journalist was heard discussing Partygate while providing a news report on a press statement by the Prime Minister and Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, an extraordinary sign of the saga’s global reach.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/inside-boris-johnsons-trip-india-26776999 Inside Boris Johnson's trip to India - as Partygate PM haunts 4,000 miles away