Even as he issued a warning to conspiring rebel Conservatives, Boris Johnson is facing a wave of resignations from his government that threaten to end his position as premier.
Early on Wednesday afternoon, five more junior ministers abruptly announced their resignations in what appeared to be a coordinated move to put Johnson under the greatest amount of pressure. More than 25 members of the prime minister’s cabinet have left the organization, but none more significantly than the two cabinet members who left late on Tuesday: the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and the Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
Currently, the Tory 1922 Committee meeting at 5 o’clock, which plans the party leader’s vote of confidence, is receiving a lot of attention. Following Johnson’s narrow victory over a leadership challenge last month, dissident Conservatives are attempting to alter the rules to permit a new election. One might appear as early as next week, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The press secretary for the prime minister declared that he would run for leadership in any election and that he was certain to win.
On Wednesday, Johnson was told in the House of Commons by Gary Sambrook, a Tory MP who serves on the 1922 Committee executive, that he must “take responsibility and resign.”
It would only take 32 of Johnson’s supporters to switch sides in order to defeat him since more than 40% of his MPs voted against him last month. In addition, if the committee’s leaders confront the prime minister and make it clear that he has no choice but to resign, as they did with his immediate predecessor, Theresa May, the endgame might occur prior to a vote.
According to three people with knowledge of the situation, if Johnson rejects a request to resign from party grandees, more Cabinet resignations will follow. Senior ministers claimed that if Graham Brady, the 1922 Committee’s powerful chairman, informed Johnson that the parliamentary party no longer had confidence in him, Johnson would be expected to resign or set a timeline for handing over power.
Two people suggested Michael Gove, the Levelling Up Secretary, and Therese Coffey, the Work and Pensions Secretary, as candidates for the positions. Neither of them answered a comment request.
A person with knowledge of the situation refuses to deny reports that Gove told Johnson to resign, so the public is closely watching his position. If he turns against the prime minister, it will bring back memories of how he thwarted Johnson’s initial run for the presidency in the wake of the 2016 Brexit vote.
Johnson also made it clear to lawmakers that he intends to remain in office, despite the fact that his attempt in Parliament to put an end to the turmoil of the previous day did not stop the resignations.
Johnson told lawmakers during Prime Minister’s Questions, “The job of a prime minister in trying times when he’s been given a colossal mandate is to keep going and that’s what I’ll do.”
Tim Loughton, a Tory lawmaker, asked him if he believed “there are any circumstances in which he should resign.” To which he replied. It’s a sign that the premier views the electorate, who gave him a landslide majority in 2019, as having more authority than his MPs.
Boris Johnson suffered resignations July 5-6
Cabinet: Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak
Alex Chalk, Will Quince, Stuart Andrew, John Glen, Robin Walker, Victoria Atkins, Jo Churchill, Julia Lopez, Kemi Badenoch, Neil O’Brien, Lee Rowley, Alex Burghart, and Mims Davies are among the cabinet members.
Laura Trott, Selaine Saxby, Jonathan Gullis, Saqib Bhatti, Virginia Crosbie, Felicity Buchan, Claire Coutinho, David Johnston, Nicola Richards, Duncan Baker, and Craig Williams are members of parliament’s private secretariat.
Vice-Chair of the Conservative Party is Bim Afolami.
Theo Clarke and Andrew Murrison are trade envoys.
For the first time since Sunak and Javid’s resignations the day before, Johnson appeared before MPs in front of the public on Wednesday. Javid delivered a scathing resignation statement in the Commons on Wednesday after the prime minister appeared there and declared that “enough is enough.”
Javid stated, “I have come to the conclusion that the problem starts at the top, and that is not going to change.
Johnson’s handling of a scandal involving Chris Pincher, an MP who the prime minister promoted in February despite getting prior warnings about inappropriate behavior, has been the last straw for many.
But it comes after months of controversy regarding unlawful gatherings in Downing Street during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the fallout from Johnson’s failed attempt to shield a senior Conservative MP from punishment last fall after it was discovered that he had violated lobbying laws.
Javid said, “I do worry that the reset button can only be used so many times. You can only turn that machine on and off so many times before you notice there is a serious problem.
One more vote
Johnson admitted in the Commons that he erred in his handling of Pincher, who quit as deputy chief whip last week amid claims in the press that he had groped two men. While acknowledging in his resignation letter that he had “embarrassed” himself and “caused upset” to others, Pincher has denied the specific allegations.
Johnson told MPs, “I deeply regret that he was allowed to stay in office.” In retrospect, I should have known he wouldn’t change.
Johnson was referred to as a “pathetic spectacle” by Labour leader Keir Starmer, who also called the premier’s efforts to defend himself the “dying act of his political career.”
Power was at the center of the Pincher crisis, and the disgraced government minister received his authority from that prime minister, according to Starmer. He has been supported for months by a tainted party that is standing up for the inadmissible, which is why he is only in power.
On Wednesday afternoon, an increasing number of Tory MPs took the unusual step of publishing their letters of no confidence in Johnson.