Why lockdown parties in Downing Street are such a big deal

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under fire over a series of social gatherings held at Downing Street while the UK was under Covid-19 restrictions.

London (CNN)Reports of parties in the heart of Britain's government have sparked fury in the country for weeks -- and that outrage peaked on Monday, when an official report returned damning findings.

Some aspects of the parties, which have been splashed across front pages since the beginning of December, might seem trivial or even amusing: Garden parties. DJs. Suitcases full of alcohol. Staff playing on a swing erected for the Prime Minister's infant child.
But the allegations matter not so much because of what took place, but when.
    Boris Johnson's government imposed the strictest peacetime restrictions on British people that any have ever seen. For months, people could not see their family members -- even outside, from a distance. They could leave their homes once a day; life events like weddings were put on hold.
      Most difficult of all, people were banned from visiting family members as they died with Covid-19 in hospital. Even funerals were limited to immediate family, and attendees could not hug each other as they mourned.
      It was a hardship endured by many: The UK has seen more than 150,000 deaths since the pandemic began, more than anywhere else in Europe.
      So when it came to light that Johnson and his staff had attended events and gatherings even while imposing such strict rules on the British public, it struck a nerve. It has destroyed the government's standing in opinion polls and left Johnson fighting for his political life.
        Johnson's many responses on the matter have only deepened the scandal. At first, in early December, he denied that a party had taken place in Downing Street and insisted that all guidance was followed. Just eight weeks later, it has emerged that 12 parties are under police investigation and a report has condemned his leadership.
        Fewer than one in four (23%) British adults now say Johnson has what it takes to be a good prime minister, while two out of three (64%) say he does not, a new Ipsos Mori poll released Monday found.
        Johnson's rating on the question has fallen to its lowest level in Ipsos Mori polling since he won a landslide election in 2019.
          Even during 2021, when Johnson's government enjoyed popularity on the back of a successful vaccine rollout, the Prime Minister came under criticism for the view that his government followed one rule while the public followed another.
          The past two months have made it even harder for Johnson to refute that claim -- and threaten to wreck public trust in his government.