LONDON Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, long regarded as Johnson’s potential successor, and Health Minister Sajid Javid emphasized in their resignation letters that they had lost confidence in the prime minister. Several MPs also resigned from government functions
– these are not key items, but this
The signal is devastating, analysts pointed out. Most notably, the resignation of Jonathan Gullis, who was previously considered an ultra-loyal supporter of the prime minister, shows that the signs point to a storm.
Probably the worst day in Johnson’s tenure could only be a prelude to the next ones. Because on Wednesday, the prime minister has traditionally at noon to answer questions from MPs in the lower house
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– and in the afternoon the Liaison Committee, parliamentary committee.
Members often ask uncomfortable questions and “grill” the prime minister. One topic on the agenda: honesty.
Here Johnson comes full circle. More and more of his party friends deny this honesty. The prime minister ridiculed the Tories and pushed them away – this is how one can sum up the criticism of an increasing number of party rebels. MP Nicola Richards said she could no longer work for the government under the current circumstances, when she resigned as parliament’s private secretary to the transport minister. “Focus is distorted by poor judgment that I don’t want to be associated with.”
The latest scandal involving Johnson’s party member Chris Pincher turned out to be the last straw. The question is whether the prime minister knew about the sexual harassment allegations against Pincher when he promoted him in February to a key office for the parliamentary group. Yes, Johnson finally had to give up. He apologized – but he couldn’t stop the wave of resignation. He even met contempt on the part of the party. “I can’t believe he was depressed by a sex scandal in which he is not involved,” New Statesman magazine quoted one Tory. The prime minister is said to have had several extra-marital affairs.
But Johnson wouldn’t be Johnson if he backed out. The 58-year-old quickly made it clear that he would fight. Within hours, the head of government appointed two loyal supporters as successors to the outgoing ministers: Chief of Staff Steve Barclay will become Health Minister, Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi will move to an important Ministry of Finance and in turn will be replaced by his Secretary of State Michelle Donelan.
Johnson is known for his political will to survive. He has had several major scandals, most recently the Partygate scandal over illegal shutdown celebrations at government headquarters on Downing Street. Johnson was not even refuted by a fine that made him the first incumbent prime minister to break the law.
“It’s a bit like Rasputin’s death,” Tory MP Andrew Mitchell told the BBC, referring to a legendary Russian tsarist adviser who reportedly survived multiple assassination attempts. “He was poisoned, stabbed, shot, thrown into a freezing river – and he’s still alive.” Another unnamed Tory told the BBC that the “Boris cult” was not to be taken lightly. The prime minister in a shirt is seen by many conservatives as the only candidate who can win the elections. Sam Johnson said he could envision a third term in the 1930s – and he hasn’t even made a first.
But unlike previous scandals, the mood is much gloomy. “I’m afraid it’s over,” Mitchell said. Others have compared the situation to a slow motion car accident. However, there is currently no real alternative, which is one of the reasons political scientist Garnett sees the party dealing with a protracted power struggle. The expert said if Johnson quit now in the midst of a severe economic crisis and faced with pressing questions about his personal integrity, he would be considered one of the worst leaders in history. “This makes it very unlikely that he will quit. His party will have to get him out of Downing Street. “/ Bvi / DP / zb