Boris Johnson defends actions as more conservative allies resign

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LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson fought for his political life on Wednesday as more ministers and aides continued to leave his government and a former top cabinet minister scathingly criticized Johnson’s leadership.

Johnson tried to move on from Tuesday’s dramatic events, when two of his most senior cabinet ministers — Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Minister Sajid Javid — who both have their own power bases in the party and are believed to be future leadership candidates.

Johnson’s bid to quickly fill the top positions has not turned the tide of further – albeit more junior – layoffs. Over a 24-hour period, at least 26 Conservative politicians resigned in protest at Johnson’s leadership.

The resignation, which followed a string of scandals, has raised many questions: How long can Johnson survive? Is this the end game for Johnson? Is there any way to expel him?

During a fiery session of the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions, Johnson fired those calling for his resignation.

Wanted by a fellow conservative if there were circumstances under which he would have to resign, Johnson said he would quit if the government couldn’t move forward. “Frankly, the job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances when you’ve been given a colossal mandate is to keep going, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

At one point, as a sign of the mood of the session, a group of opposition Labor lawmakers waved at Johnson and shouted, “Bye.”

Javid, the former health minister whose resignation sparked the exodus, sharply criticized the prime minister, telling Parliament that “the tight rope between loyalty and integrity has become impossible in recent months.” He said he was told by senior figures late last year that no parties had taken place in Downing Street during pandemic lockdowns. A police investigation into ‘Partygate’ ended with 126 fines, including one for Johnson.

UK ‘Partygate’ investigation ends with 126 fines, no further citations for Boris Johnson

Javid added that “this week we have yet another reason to question the truth and integrity of what we’ve all been told,” he said, citing a separate scandal involving Chris Pincher, who was recently retired as a deputy head whip. after allegations that he assaulted two men while they were drunk. Downing Street initially said Johnson was unaware of previous allegations of misconduct when the Prime Minister gave Pincher a key government post, but later came back to acknowledge that Johnson was aware of an investigation confirming similar complaints in 2019.

The resignation of top British ministers and the plight of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government dominated British headlines on July 6 (Video: Reuters)

“The problem starts at the top,” Javid said.

While Javid was speaking, another pastor stopped.

Boris Johnson’s latest scandal leads to resignation of top ministers

The majority of the British public thinks Johnson should throw in the towel. A YouGov poll published on Tuesday found that 69 per cent of Britons said Johnson should resign – including a majority of Conservative voters (54 per cent).

Only 18 percent of the British public thinks Johnson should stay.

Johnson has made it clear that – if it is up to him – he will stay where he is. And under the current Conservative Party rules, there is no formal way for Johnson’s critics to get rid of him quickly. Since Johnson narrowly survived a vote of no confidence from his party last month, he has been officially isolated from additional party challenges for a year.

Rob Ford, a political pundit at the University of Manchester, drew parallels with 2016 when, following the Brexit vote, there was a massive resignation from the opposition Labor Party shadow cabinet to pressure Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn. While some leaders may have read the room and decided to call it quits, Ford said, Corbyn didn’t and remained leader until spring 2020.

Likewise, there is widespread opposition to his leadership at Johnson. You have a leader who will not bend to informal pressure to leave, and the only formal mechanism you have is unavailable. So you’re in a precarious state,” Ford said.

Boris Johnson survives but is weakened by no-confidence vote

There has been a lot of talk in recent days about how party rules could be changed. And in the coming days, conservative lawmakers will elect new members to the powerful 1922 committee that makes the rules. Some of those campaigning for roles have suggested they support allowing another vote of no confidence.

Meanwhile, the number of layoffs, including of former loyalists, continued to rise. Analysts say Johnson is in luck, as the reasons cited for the lost confidence appear to be diverse — his critics don’t unite around a single issue, like those who helped get rid of Theresa May, Johnson’s predecessor, did when they dumped her. . †

Ford said that while Johnson could limp until another confidence vote is held, his chances of leading the Conservative Party to the next general election, scheduled for 2025, seemed slim.

“At the very least, a confidence vote will be possible in 11 months. What exactly is going to change between now and then to restore confidence in Johnson?” asked Ford. “Right now I think something close to a biblical miracle is needed. Nothing can be ruled out with the happiest politician in British politics, but it takes something extraordinary.”

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