UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson vows to stay on after top minister resigns

LONDON (AP) — A defiant British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was fighting to stay in power on Wednesday after his government was rattled by the resignations of two senior ministers who he said could no longer be on his side. Served under a scandal-ridden leadership.

His first challenge is to weather the storm on Wednesday, where he faces tough questions at a weekly meeting of parliament on the prime minister’s question and a lengthy cross-examination by a committee of senior lawmakers.

Months of dissatisfaction with Johnson’s judgment and ethics within the ruling Conservative Party continued with the resignations of Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Health Minister Sajid Javid on Tuesday night. In a scathing resignation letter, Sunak said: “The public rightfully expects the government to do its work correctly, competently and conscientiously. … I believe these standards are worth fighting for, and that’s what I’m resigning from. reason.”

Javid said the party needed “humility, certainty and a new direction” but “it is clear that this is not going to change under your leadership.”

Johnson quickly replaced two ministers, promoting Nadim Zahavi from education to finance and appointing his chief of staff Steve Barclay as health minister.

But late Tuesday, a spate of resignations from more junior ministers from the liberal and right-wing branches of the Conservative Party showed that the danger facing Johnson was far from over.

Johnson has been fined by police over the past few months and has come under fire for investigators’ reports on political parties violating the government’s lockdown amid the pandemic; survived a vote of no confidence in his party, 41% of Conservative Party MPs voted to oust him; and saw formerly loyal lieutenants urge him to resign.

Through it all, he has vowed to stay in power — even suggesting he wants to stay in office until the 2030s.

The final straw that broke Sunak and Javid was the prime minister’s shifting interpretation of his handling of the sexual misconduct scandal.

The latest scandal began last week when lawmaker Chris Pincher resigned as the Tory deputy chief whip after complaints he groped two men at a private club. That has sparked a flurry of reports about past allegations against Pincher and questions about why Johnson had elevated him to a senior role in party discipline.

Johnson’s office initially said he was unaware of the previous allegations when he promoted Pincher in February. By Monday, a spokesman said Johnson was aware of the allegations “either resolved or not entered into a formal complaint”.

When a former senior foreign affairs civil servant said Johnson had been informed of the allegations against Pincher in 2019, Johnson’s office changed its story again, saying the prime minister had forgotten that Pincher was the subject of an official complaint.

It’s just too much for ministers to be sent on radio and television to defend the government’s position, only to find it changing from moment to moment.

Bim Afolami, who resigned as Conservative vice-chairman on Tuesday, said he had been willing to let Johnson benefit from the doubts, “but I don’t think we’ve seen the situation improve over the last few weeks. They’ve gotten worse.”

“I think Downing Street’s conduct over the Crispincher affair is truly appalling. And I personally don’t think I can justify it anymore,” he told the BBC.

Johnson’s opponents in his party want more cabinet ministers to follow Sunak and Javid, although other senior officials at the moment – including Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel – all stay put.

Opponents are also trying to force another vote of no confidence in the prime minister. Current rules call for a 12-month gap between votes, but a powerful party committee has set the rules – the election of its chief executive will be held in the coming weeks.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.

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