Faced with a problem that seemed to reflect poorly on his judgment, Johnson again tried to cover up and hide in an effort to avoid confronting the situation.
All of Johnson’s missteps have been essentially the same offense: a complete disregard for the ethics associated with his office.
Chris Pincher resigned as deputy head of the whip last Thursday after allegations emerged that he sexually assaulted two men while being “incredibly drunk” at the private Carlton Club in central London.
In the days that followed, Johnson was accused of turning a blind eye to the allegations.
Earlier this week, a former senior official accused Johnson of “still not telling the truth” about allegations of inappropriate behavior and claimed Johnson was “personally informed” of a formal complaint against Pincher in 2019.
In the end, Johnson couldn’t even deny the claims of his former top aide, Dominic Cummings, that the prime minister once even called him “Pincher by name, pincher by nature” long before he appointed him in February.
The Prime Minister’s tenure is now so comical that even Neil Parish, who was forced to resign as a Tory MP two months ago because he “accidentally” came across pornography on his cell phone in the House of Commons while supposedly looking for tractors, on the radio appeared to give Johnson a lecture on moral standards.
The dramatic resignation letters on Tuesday evening from two of the top men sitting next to Johnson in the cabinet were telling.
Sunak cited economic differences and suggested that Johnson was no longer willing to make tough decisions essential to fighting inflation.
But both he and the health secretary especially emphasized the collapse of fundamental values.
Javid, widely regarded as a potential successor, wrote that “the British people also rightly expect integrity from their government”.
The Tories, he wrote, must be competent and act in the national interest, but “the public is concluding that neither are we now.”
Sunak added that standards are “worth fighting for”. Following Oliver Dowden’s resignation as party chairman admonishing “someone has to take responsibility,” the resignation suggests the party’s mainstream has had enough.
Finally, and rather dramatically, it all falls apart. After the ongoing scandal of the so-called partygate affair, where life in Downing Street during COVID was found to consist of drunken gatherings, fist punches, vomiting and red wine stains on the walls, it seemed his days were numbered.
Things were so twisted that even the senior figure in charge of ethics and decency provided a karaoke machine for a party.
Johnson has survived scandals time and again – in politics and in high office – but he has now lost the trust of at least half of the Tory constituency and of many ministers.
Obviously Johnson’s instinct will be to persevere. He has made an effort to replace his two senior colleagues, reportedly giving in to ultimatums and demands from others threatening to follow them out the door.
And without a change in leadership election rules, there is no formal leverage to force Johnson out. His political death may be a while yet. Under existing party rules, he technically has 11 months to turn it around.
But it’s not clear what he can offer his MPs as a reason to keep him.
Others in the cabinet have publicly pledged their loyalty – perhaps knowing they may not survive a change of leadership. But if more follow in the coming days, he’ll have no choice but to step aside.
Johnson’s constant lies have finally caught up with him and aren’t letting him go anywhere.
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