Embattled UK Prime Minister Johnson set to miss Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony today

Embattled UK Prime Minister Johnson set to miss Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony today
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Boris Johnson had visited Alexander Stadium, the venue for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and athletics during the Commonwealth Games, in May and met the Birmingham 2022 mascot Perry ©Getty Images

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to miss the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The UK Government is set to be represented at the event at Alexander Stadium by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries.

The Games are due to be opened by Prince Charles, accompanied by The Duchess of Cornwall, who will be representing the Queen.

It will be the third time in four Commonwealth Games that Charles has performed the role having also done it at Delhi 2010 and Gold Coast 2018.

Johnson announced his pending resignation as Prime Minister earlier this month following a series of scandals but will remain as Prime Minister until a new Conservative Party leader is elected in September.

The two contenders to replace Johnson, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, are both expected to attend Birmingham 2022 during the Games.

Johnson had visited Alexander Stadium in May shortly after the revamped venue was handed over to Birmingham 2022 organisers.

Johnson and Dorries met with volunteers and medal designers and also watched young athletes from Birchfield Harriers train at the Stadium which is due to host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as the athletics events.

Johnson described the Alexander Stadium – which has undergone a £72 million ($90 million/€83million) renovation – as a “global venue” and claimed the “world will be tuned into the West Midlands” during the Games.

Birmingham band Duran Duran will be headlining the Opening Ceremony in front of more than 30,000 spectators. 

Johnson has instead sent a message on the eve of the Games. 

“The UK rightly has an outstanding reputation for hosting major sporting events, and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham will be another fantastic opportunity to showcase the best of Britain on a global stage,” he said. 

“Not only will we be celebrating sporting success, we will also be strengthening the crucial ties between our 72 nations and territories – bringing businesses and Governments from across the world together to encourage trade and boost economic growth that will leave a lasting legacy for years to come.

“Good luck to all the athletes competing – let the Games begin.

The then-UK Prime Minister David Cameron also skipped the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which was attended instead by Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond.

But Tony Blair did attend the Opening Ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester when he was Prime Minister.

In recent Games, Australian and Indian Prime Ministers John Howard and Manmohan Singh did attend the Opening Ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games at Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010, respectively.

A spokesperson for Number 10 Downing Street told insidethegames that Johnson’s “attendance is not confirmed.”

-insidethegames

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