London- A defiant British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was battling to stay in power on Wednesday after his government was rocked by the resignations of two top ministers who said they could no longer function under his scandal-ridden leadership.
His first challenge comes from Wednesday, where he faces tough questions in the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session in Parliament, and long-scheduled inquiries by a committee of senior MPs.
Months of discontent over Johnson’s decisions and ethics within the governing Conservative Party erupted with the resignations of Treasury Chief Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid within minutes of each other on Tuesday evening. In a sharp resignation letter, Sunak said, “The public rightly expects that the government will operate properly, competently and seriously. … I believe these standards are worth fighting for and therefore I am resigning.” “
Javid said the party needed “humility, a grip and a new direction”, but “it is clear that this situation will not change under your leadership.”
Johnson quickly replaced the two ministers, promoted Nadim Zahvi from the Department of Education to the Treasury and installed his chief of staff, Steve Barkley, as health secretary.
But a string of resignations late Tuesday from more junior ministers from both the liberal and right-wing branches of the Conservative Party showed that the threat to Johnson was not over.
Over the past few months, Johnson has been fined by police and slammed by an investigator’s report on lockdown-violating parties in government during the pandemic; survived a no-confidence vote by his party in which 41% of Conservative MPs voted to oust him; And he has seen the former loyal lieutenant urging him to resign.
Through it all, he has vowed to rule – even suggesting he remains in office until the 2030s.
The last straw for Sunak and Javid was the prime minister’s clarification on his handling of the sexual misconduct scandal.
The latest scandal began last week when MP Chris Pincher resigned as Conservative deputy chief whip amid complaints that two men groped at a private club. This triggered a series of reports about the previous allegations leveled against Pincher and questioned why Johnson promoted him to a senior job in order to enforce party discipline.
Johnson’s office initially said he was not aware of the previous allegations when he promoted Pincher in February. As of Monday, a spokesman said Johnson was aware of the allegations that were “either resolved or did not proceed to a formal complaint.”
When a former top civil servant at the Foreign Office said Johnson had been informed of an allegation against Pincher in 2019, Johnson’s office changed its story again, saying the prime minister had forgotten That Pincher was the subject of an official complaint.
It was too much for ministers sent on radio and TV to defend the government’s position, only the situation was changing by the hour.
Bim Afolami, who resigned as Vice President of the Conservative Party on Tuesday, said he was ready to give Johnson the benefit of the doubt, but I think things have not improved as we have seen in the past few weeks. His health has worsened.”
“I think Downing Street’s behavior in the case of Chris Pincher was really appalling. And I personally couldn’t think I could defend that kind of behavior now,” he told the BBC.
Johnson’s opponents in the party expect more cabinet ministers to follow Sunak and Javid, although for now other top officials – including Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel – have been kept.
Opponents are also trying to impose another no-confidence motion on the Prime Minister. Current rules require 12 months between such votes, but the rules are made by a powerful party committee – and elections to its executive are due in the next few weeks.
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