A group of British cabinet members are calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign. So far, the controversial Johnson has continued to hold office in the recent government crisis.
Despite harsh criticism from within his own ranks and more than two dozen resignations from party friends, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to remain in office. Now a group of cabinet ministers is calling on Johnson to resign, reports British news site BBC.
“The job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances, when he has a strong mandate, is to keep going. And that’s what I’m going to do,” Johnson said on Wednesday in Parliament in London when asked by a party colleague if he would ever consider resigning. The government crisis had triggered an affair over allegations of sexual assault by a leading parliamentary group member.
Several Conservative party friends directly or indirectly called on Johnson to resign at Question Time in Parliament on Wednesday. The mood on the Conservative benches in the House of Commons – where the Prime Minister is usually cheered with loud “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” shouts – was icy. Sometimes there was grave silence. Ex-Health Minister Sajid Javid, who resigned on Tuesday evening, called on other cabinet members to follow his example. According to media reports, Building Minister Michael Gove, who remained in office, asked Johnson to resign in a private conversation – that would be another heavy blow.
In the corridors of parliament there were rumors that the decision could soon be taken from the prime minister. The influential 1922 Committee, which is responsible for laying down the rules for a vote of no confidence in the Tory party leader, is due to meet on Wednesday. Johnson narrowly survived a no-confidence vote in his group just a month ago. Under Tory party rules, no new attempt may be made for 12 months after the vote.
But the calls for a change in the rules became much louder on Wednesday. It is now “crucial” that the so-called 1922 Committee creates the conditions for a new vote of confidence, wrote Conservative MP Chris Skidmore in a letter to its chairman Graham Brady, which he published on Twitter. By mid-afternoon, media counted more than 30 Conservative officials resigning in protest at Johnson. It was unclear with whom the prime minister wanted to fill the positions.
Well-connected in Tory circles, journalist James Forsyth of the conservative Spectator magazine quoted an influential member of the panel as saying they wanted to put the gun on Johnson’s chest. If he does not resign voluntarily, the way will be cleared for a vote of no confidence. It was speculated that a new vote could take place as early as Thursday. If the majority for this is missing in the committee, this could initially be preceded by an election for a new appointment.
The most recent government crisis in Westminster was triggered by the harassment scandal surrounding Johnson’s party colleague Chris Pincher. It had led to a series of resignations in the cabinet on Tuesday. It was previously revealed that Johnson knew of allegations of sexual harassment against Pincher before he promoted him to a key faction office. His spokesman had previously denied this several times.
Johnson apologized. But it was too late. Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Health Minister Sajid Javid resigned, and a number of other MPs resigned from party and government offices. It is considered likely that Johnson would not survive another no-confidence vote. According to a spokeswoman, he wants to face a possible vote and is still convinced that he has a majority in his group behind him.
A scheduled meeting of the so-called Liaison Committee, at which Johnson answered questions from heads of all parliamentary committees, provided a brief respite in the afternoon. In what was at times a bizarre session, the prime minister, who appeared harried, answered questions on various topics such as the war against Ukraine, food safety and the rising cost of living.