Doom stares Boris in the face as Sunak, Javid quit

0
80
It’s Black Tuesday for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who is likely to face doom and exit from No.10 Downing Street.

Two of his top ministers have resigned: health secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

Both Sunak and Javid sent resignation letters within minutes of each other to the prime minister, in which both slammed his ability to run an administration that adhered to standards.

Both Sunak and Javid had formerly publicly supported Johnson during months of scandal over his administration’s conduct and a damning report into parties at his Downing Street office and residence that broke strict COVID-19 lockdown rules.

Sunak, who had reportedly clashed with the prime minister in private about spending, said: “For me to step down as Chancellor while the world is suffering the economic consequences of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and other serious challenges is a decision that I have not taken lightly.

“However, the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously. I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning.”

Javid said many lawmakers and the public had lost confidence in Johnson’s ability to govern in the national interest.

“I regret to say, however, that it is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership – and you have therefore lost my confidence too,” Javid said in a letter to Johnson.

The resignations follow a day of high political drama and have been triggered by flames of anger over Johnson’s handling of allegations against recently suspended MP Chris Pincher.

Christopher Pincher, whose role as Deputy Chief Whip involved enforcing party discipline, had thrown all forms of moral discipline to the wind when he sexually assaulted two male guests at a London club. He resigned from the government saying he had drunk too much, embarrassed himself and “caused upset” to people.

Pincher was suspended from the parliamentary party on Friday.  

Downing Street denied accusations from former Foreign Office permanent secretary Lord McDonald that it was “not telling the truth” when asked previously about the matter, instead insisting that Johnson did not originally “recall” being told about the complaint against Pincher.

Forcing an urgent question in the Commons, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner labelled the governemnt “paralysed by scandal” and claimed Johnson was “either negligent or complicit”.

Multiple Tories expressed their discontent in the Commons, with the PM reported to be touring the Westminster tearooms in a bid to assuage their anger – to which senior MP Simon Hoare responded: “Been there. Done that … It won’t wash any more.”

On his part, Boris Johnson said he “bitterly regrets” giving Pincher a government role as Deputy Chief Whip after being made aware of a misconduct complaint against him.

“In hindsight it was the wrong thing to do and I apologise to everyone who has been badly affected by it. I just want to make absolutely clear that there’s no place in this government for anybody who is predatory or abuses their position of power,” said Johnson.

“He’s finished,” said one previously loyal Conservative lawmaker on condition of anonymity. “He shouldn’t prolong the agony. It’s disrespectful to his colleagues, his party and his country.”

Another previously loyal lawmaker agreed: “It is all over. I would be amazed if he lasts until the summer now.”

Opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer said those who had backed Johnson were complicit in how he had performed his job.

“After all the sleaze, the scandals and the failure, it’s clear that this government is now collapsing,” he said.

Here’s the damning verdict from one Cabinet minister on the double resignation, according to Sky News:

“Boris will have to go now. It doesn’t matter what the rest of us do. Once you lose your chancellor and health secretary it’s all over.”

As speculation swirls around Boris Johnson’s future, sources close to various Cabinet ministers have said that they will remain loyal to the prime minister.

An ally of foreign secretary Liz Truss, viewed as a potential leadership candidate, said she was “100% behind the PM’’.

A source close to Ben Wallace, who has also been tipped as a potential successor to Johnson, told the PA news agency that the defence secretary “is not resigning”, while an ally of Priti Patel said: “She’s staying.”

A spokesperson for Dominic Raab is reported to have told Sky News that the justice secretary “is loyal to the PM”.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Alister Jack are also staying, Sky’s Tom Larkin reports.

A Treasury source has claimed that Rishi Sunak only found about about Sajid Javid’s resignation after he had submitted his own, indicating that their actions were not coordinated, ITV’s Robert Peston reports.

Tim Shipman of the Times has alluded to the fact that a sudden announcement of Durham Police’s looming verdict over whether Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner broke Covid rules would mean Boris Johnson’s future is not the only one in question this evening.

Agencies

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here