August 11, 2022

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Boris Johnson defends his actions as more Conservative allies quit

Boris Johnson defends his actions as more Conservative allies quit
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LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was fighting for his political life on Wednesday as more ministers and aides continued to quit his government and a former senior cabinet minister leveled barbs at Johnson’s leadership.

Johnson was trying to get away from the dramatic events of Tuesday, which saw the sudden resignations of two of his top cabinet ministers – Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Minister Sajid Javid – both of whom have their own power bases in the party and are believed to be contenders for leadership in the future.

Johnson’s efforts to fill top positions quickly have not stopped a wave of more – albeit smaller – resignations. Over the course of 24 hours, at least 26 Conservative politicians resigned from their posts in protest of Johnson’s leadership.

The resignations, which followed a series of scandals, have raised many questions: How long can Johnson last? Is this game over for Johnson? Is there a way to overthrow him?

In a fiery session of the Prime Minister’s weekly questions, Johnson dismissed those calling for his resignation.

Requested By a fellow Conservative if there were any circumstances under which he should step down, Johnson said he would resign if the government could not continue. “Honestly, the job of the prime minister in difficult circumstances when you get a massive mandate is to carry on, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Indicating the mood of the session, a group of Labor MPs opposing Johnson waved, chanting, “Goodbye.”

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Javid, the former health minister whose resignation triggered mass exodus, delivered a scathing criticism of the prime minister, telling Parliament that “treading the tightrope between loyalty and integrity has become impossible in recent months”. He said that late last year, prominent figures told him that no parties were taking place in Downing Street during the pandemic lockdowns. The police investigation into the Partigate ended with 126 fineincluding one for Johnson.

Partigate UK investigation ends with 126 fines, no more citations for Boris Johnson

Javid added that “this week again, we have reason to question the truth and fairness of what we have all been told,” referring to a separate scandal involving Chris Pincher, who recently resigned as vice president after accusations that he assaulted two men while drunk. Downing Street initially said Johnson was not aware of any previous allegations of misconduct when Prime Minister Pincher gave a key government position, but later retracted to acknowledge that Johnson was aware of an investigation that supported similar complaints in 2019.

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

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

While Javid was speaking, another minister resigned.

Latest Boris Johnson scandal leads to resignations of senior ministers

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

Only 18 per cent of the British public said Johnson should stay.

Johnson made it clear that – if it was up to him – he would stay where he is. Under current Tory rules, there is no official way for Johnson’s critics to get rid of him quickly. Since Johnson survived – with difficulty – a Vote of no confidence From his party last month, he is officially isolated from additional party challenges for a year.

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Rob Ford, a political expert at the University of Manchester, drew comparisons to 2016 when, after the Brexit vote, there were mass resignations from the opposition Labor’s shadow government aimed at putting pressure on Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn. While some leaders may have read the room and decided to resign, Ford said, Corbyn did not and remained a leader until the spring of 2020.

Likewise, with Johnson, there is broad opposition to his leadership. You have a leader who will not succumb to informal pressure to go, and the only formal mechanism you have is not available. Ford said.

Boris Johnson survived but was weakened by a vote of no confidence

There has been a lot of talk in recent days about how to change the party’s rules. And in the coming days, conservative lawmakers will elect new members to the powerful 1922 commission, which sets the rules. Some of those fighting for roles suggested they would support allowing another vote of no-confidence.

Meanwhile, the number of resignations, including from former loyalists, continued to rise. Analysts say Johnson is fortunate that the stated reasons for the loss of faith appear diverse — his critics are not united on a single issue, in the way those who helped get rid of Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, did when they abandoned her. .

Ford said that while Johnson could swing until such time as another confidence vote, his chances of leading the Conservative Party into the next general election, scheduled for 2025, appear slim.

At the very least, it becomes possible to have another vote of confidence 11 months from now. What exactly will change between now and then to restore confidence in Johnson? Ford asked. “At this point, I think it would take something close to a Bible miracle. Nothing can be ruled out with the luckiest politician in British politics, but something extraordinary is required.”

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