Over fifty UK ministers and government officials walk out on PM Johnson
The British prime minister is urged to step down by fellow conservatives, who have resigned en masse
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been hit with the mass departure of government ministers and other officials amid mounting calls for him to step down.
Since Tuesday, when Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak handed in their resignations, 50 more officials have done the same. Among them are Welsh Secretary Simon Hart, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis, Education Secretary Michelle Donelan as well as 25 other ministers.
Brandon Lewis wrote in his resignation letter, addressing Johnson: “I have given you, and those around you, the benefit of the doubt. I have gone out and defended this government both publicly and privately. We are, however, now past the point of no return.”
A decent and responsible Government relies on honesty, integrity and mutual respect – it is a matter of profound personal regret that I must leave Government as I no longer believe those values are being upheld.
I have submitted my letter of resignation to the Prime Minister. pic.twitter.com/EG6u52BdDc
— Brandon Lewis (@BrandonLewis) July 7, 2022
The newly-appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nadhim Zahawi, described the situation in the government as “not sustainable” and bound to “only get worse.”
Even Home Secretary Priti Patel and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who the British media had until recently described as Johnson’s loyal supporters, have urged the PM to go.
The bishop of Buckingham, the Right Reverend Alan Wilson, has also thrown his weight behind calls for Johnson to resign. He noted that the PM had “obviously” lied about the notorious lockdown parties in Downing Street, adding that Britain needed a leader it could trust.
In the face of mounting internal opposition within the Conservative party, Johnson had until Thursday morning remained defiant, insisting that he had been given a “colossal mandate to keep going.” According to the BBC, he has expressed doubt whether any of his would-be successors would be in a position to “replicate his electoral success at the next election.”
Johnson even mounted a counter offensive of sorts, firing former Brexit ally, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove. The UK media has quoted anonymous Downing Street sources as calling Gove a “snake” who “gleefully briefs the press that he has called for the leader to go.”
Not all have deserted the embattled prime minister, however, with Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg remaining loyal.
However, Johnson’s claims of strong popular support seem to have been contradicted by a recent poll conducted by YouGov. According to the survey, 69% of Britons want the PM gone, with only 18% expressing the wish for him to stay in office.
The ever-growing dissent within his own party ranks was triggered by recent revelations about Johnson’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations against former Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher.
On Tuesday, it transpired that the PM had been personally informed about a complaint against Pincher in 2019. This runs counter to No10’s previous claims that Johnson had been unaware.
On top of that, the premier has previously been fined for throwing parties at Downing Street 10 during Covid 19 lockdowns.