Friday, October 07, 2022

Boris Johnson struggles to remain British Prime Minister amid a series of resignations

LONDON ( Associated Press) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday struggled to stay in office and turned down calls for his resignation after two top ministers and a string of junior officials said they could no longer serve under his scandal-ridden leadership.

Johnson has rejected claims that he should resign during a stormy session of the House of Commons amid anger over his handling of allegations of sexual misconduct against a senior official. Later that day, a delegation of some of his most trusted allies in the cabinet paid a visit to the prime minister at 10 Downing Street to urge him to leave, but he remained untouched, Britain’s press association reported.

The prime minister has rejected proposals to seek a “dignified exit”, preferring to fight for his political career, citing “very important issues facing the country,” according to the news agency. It quoted a source close to Johnson as saying he had told colleagues there would be “chaos” if he quit.

The 58-year-old leader who pulled Britain out of the European Union and led it through the COVID-19 outbreak is known for his ability to pull out of the bottlenecks and managed to stay in power despite allegations that he was too close to party were donors, that he protected supporters from bullying and corruption allegations, and that he misled Parliament over government office parties that broke pandemic lock-in rules.

READ MORE: Ethics adviser to scandal-stricken British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigns

He hung on, even when 41 percent of conservative lawmakers voted in a no-confidence vote last month to oust him.

But recent revelations that Johnson knew of allegations of sexual misconduct against a lawmaker before promoting the man to a senior position have pushed him to the brink.

By holding office, Johnson is trying to defy the mathematics of parliamentary government and the traditions of British politics. It is rare for a prime minister to cling to power in the face of this much pressure from his cabinet colleagues.

“He is now slandering our democracy, and if he does not do the right thing and goes out of his own motion, then he will be dragged out,” Scottish National Party leader Ian Blackford told the BBC.

Many of Johnson’s fellow conservatives were concerned that he no longer had the moral authority to govern at a time when difficult decisions were needed to tackle rising food and energy prices, rising COVID-19 infections and the war in Ukraine. to speak. Others are worried that he may now be a burden at the ballot box.

Members of the opposition Labor Party spoke to Johnson on Wednesday with shouts of “Go! Go! ” During the weekly ritual of Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

Labor leader Keir Starmer joked about the resignations surrounding Johnson: “Isn’t this the first recorded case of the sinking ship fleeing the rat?”

More damningly, members of Johnson’s own Conservative Party – tired of the many scandals he faced – also challenged their leader.

“Honestly… the job of the prime minister in difficult circumstances, when he has been handed a colossal mandate, is to go on,” Johnson replied with the blunders he used to ward off critics through nearly three years in the amp. “And that’s what I’m going to do.”

Former health secretary Sajid Javid, who helped unleash the current crisis when he resigned Tuesday night, captured the vote of many lawmakers when he said Johnson’s actions threaten to undermine the integrity of the Conservative Party and the British government.

“At some point, we have to conclude that enough is enough,” he told lawmakers. “I believe that point is now.”

Under party rules, another no-confidence vote cannot be held for another 11 months, but party members can change the rules. The 1922 committee, a small but influential group of conservative legislators, could decide as early as Monday whether to do so.

Javid and Treasury Chief Rishi Sunak resigned within minutes of the latest rage. The two heavyweights of the cabinet were responsible for tackling two of the biggest issues facing Britain – the cost of living crisis and COVID-19.

In a scathing letter, Sunak said: “The public rightly expects the government to act properly, competently and seriously.… I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning.”

READ MORE: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson survives a vote of no confidence amid scandals

The resignations of about 40 junior ministers and ministerial assistants followed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

While Johnson was digging in, critics accused him of refusing to accept the inevitable and of acting more like a president than a prime minister by referring to his “mandate.” In Britain, voters choose a party to govern, not the prime minister directly.

Former International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said late Tuesday that Johnson’s time was finally up.

“It’s a bit like Rasputin’s death: he was poisoned, stabbed, he was shot, his body was dumped into an icy river, and he’s still alive,” Mitchell told the BBC. “But this is an abnormal prime minister, a brilliantly charismatic, very funny, very amusing, big, big character. But I am afraid he does not have the character or the temperament to be our prime minister. “

The last straw for Sunak and Javid was the prime minister’s handling of allegations of sexual misconduct against Conservative lawmaker Chris Pincher.

Last week, Pincher resigned as deputy chief whip after complaints that he touched two men at a private club. This has led to a series of reports on previous allegations made against Pincher – and shifting explanations from the government about what Johnson knew when he tapped the man for a senior post to enforce party discipline.

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