Wednesday, August 10, 2022

‘Them the Breaks’: Scandal-hit Boris Johnson resigns as UK prime minister

Johnson made no apology for the events of his announcement and said his forced departure was ‘eccentric’

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LONDON – Scandal-hit Boris Johnson announced on Thursday he would step down as British prime minister after losing the support of his ministers and most Conservative lawmakers, but said he would wait until a successor is chosen. He will remain.

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Bowing to the inevitable, more than 50 ministers resigned and lawmakers said they should leave, with an isolated and powerless Johnson saying it was clear his party wanted someone else in charge.

“Today I have appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will, until there is a new leader,” Johnson said outside his Downing Street office, where his speech was watched by close aides and his wife, Carey. was.

“I know there will be many people who will feel relieved and there will probably be others who will be disappointed. And I want you to know how sad I am to leave the best job in the world. But they There are brakes.”

Johnson made no apology for the events of his announcement and said his forced departure was “eccentric”.

There was cheers and applause as he began his speech, while some cheered from outside the gates of Downing Street.

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After battling for several days for his job, Johnson was let down by all but the latest in a series of scandals after some of his closest aides scuttled the desire to support him.

The Conservatives will now have to elect a new leader, a process that could take weeks or months, the details of which will be announced next week.

A Snap YouGov poll found Defense Minister Ben Wallace was the favorite among Conservative Party members to replace Johnson, followed by junior trade minister Penny Mordant and former finance minister Rishi Sunak.

While Johnson said he would remain, opponents and many in his own party said he should leave immediately and hand over to his deputy, Dominic Raab.

The leader of the main opposition Labor Party, Keir Starmer, said he would call a parliamentary confidence vote if the Conservatives did not remove Johnson immediately.

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“We can’t keep up with this prime minister for months and months to come,” he said.

The crisis comes as Britons are facing the most pressure on their finances in decades, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with rising inflation, and the economy projected to be the weakest among major nations other than Russia in 2023 has been

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It also follows years of internal division sparked by the narrow 2016 vote to leave the European Union, and threats to the makeup of the United Kingdom with calls for another Scottish independence referendum, the second in a decade.

Support for Johnson evaporated during one of the most turbulent 24 hours in recent British political history, symbolizing that the finance minister, Nadim Zhawi, who was only appointed to his position on Tuesday, forced his boss to resign. called upon.

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Jahavi and other cabinet ministers went to Downing Street on Wednesday evening, accompanied by a senior representative of lawmakers who were not in government, to tell Johnson the game was over.

Initially, Johnson refused to leave and seemed prepared to sack Michael Gove – a member of his top ministerial team, who was the first to tell him he needed to resign – as his authority. to reinstall.

But as several resignations came in on Thursday morning, it became clear that his position was untenable.

“You should do the right thing and go now,” Jahvi tweeted.

Some of those in office, including Wallace, said they were doing so only because they had an obligation to keep the country safe.

So many ministers had resigned that the government was paralyzed. Despite his imminent departure, Johnson began to appoint ministers to vacant positions.

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“It is now our duty to make sure that the people of this country have a functioning government,” Michael Ellis, a minister in the Cabinet Office department that oversees the running of the government, told parliament.

Enthusiastic Johnson came to power nearly three years ago, promising to deliver Brexit and save it from bitter wrangling that followed the 2016 referendum. He allayed the concerns of some that his narcissism, failure to deal with details, and deceitful reputation meant that he was unfit.

Since then, some conservatives have enthusiastically supported the former journalist and mayor of London, while others have supported him despite reservations because he was able to appeal to sections of the electorate who generally rejected his party.

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It was born in the December 2019 election. But his administration’s belligerent and often chaotic approach and a series of scandals eroded the goodwill of many of his lawmakers, while opinion polls show he is no longer popular with the public at large.

Crisis recently erupted when legislator Chris Pincher, who held a government role involved in pastoral care, was forced to leave on charges of groping men at a private member’s club.

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Johnson had to apologize after it emerged that he had been told that Pincher had been the subject of previous complaints of sexual misconduct before he was hired. The Prime Minister said that he had forgotten.

This was followed by months of scandals and misdemeanors, including a damning report at boozy parties at his Downing Street residence and office that broke COVID-19 lockdown rules and he was arrested by police at a gathering for his 56th birthday. fined.

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There have also been policy U-turns, the unfortunate defense of a legislator breaking lobbying rules, and criticism that he has not done enough to tackle inflation, as many Britons struggle to cope with rising fuel and food prices.

In his resignation speech, Johnson highlighted his successes – from completing Brexit to ensuring the fastest COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Europe. But he said that during the war in Ukraine and that the government was working on its agenda, his efforts to convince his allies had failed.

“I’m sorry I didn’t succeed in those arguments. And of course, it’s painful not to be able to see myself through so many ideas and projects,” he said.

“But as we have seen at Westminster the herd instinct is powerful – when the herd moves, it moves and, my friends, nothing is remotely indispensable in politics.”

(Additional reporting by William James, Kylie McClellan, Andrew McAskill, Alistair Smout, William Schomberg, Muwiza M, Farooq Suleman and Sachin Ravikumar; Writing by Michael Holden and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Kate Holton, Frank Jack Daniels, Toby Chopra and Mark Heinrich )

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