Saturday Feb 04, 2023

Boris Johnson tipped to resign as Britain’s Prime Minister


After months of defiance and pandemic controversy, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to resign on Thursday.

Media reports from the UK are speculating that Mr Johnson, 58, will stand down imminently but remain in the top job until the northern autumn as the Conservatives begin their search for a new leader.

Despite surviving a vote of no confidence in Parliament last month, Mr Johnson’s move comes after abandoned by newly appointed ministers and more than 50 others in the past two days.

With eight ministers, including two secretaries of state, resigning within two hours on Thursday, an isolated and powerless Mr Johnson was set to bow to the inevitable.

It followed the spectacular resignation of more than 40 ministers and aides who quit in one day on Wednesday, even as Mr Johnson dug in his heels and refused to budge.

Britain’s new finance minister Nadhim Zahawi told Mr Johnson to resign less than 48 hours after the PM promoted him, saying the crisis engulfing the government would only get worse.

“This is not sustainable and it will only get worse, for you, for the Conservative Party and most importantly of all the country,” Zahawi tweeted.

“You must do the right thing and go now.”

Mr Johnson’s colleagues said he was not fit to be in charge after a series of scandals, while dozens in his Conservative Party are in open revolt.

Under Tory party rules Mr Johnson is protected as leader for another 11 months from a new vote. But some lawmakers are seeking to change those rules and his frustrated colleagues are bringing things to a head by trying to force his departure from the top job.

The rebellion follows yet another scandal in which Mr Johnson appointed a lawmaker to a key role, even after he was briefed that the politician had been the subject of complaints about sexual misconduct.

It was far cry from when the one-time London Mayor rose to power in 2019 when he won a large majority, capturing votes in parts of Britain that had never supported his Conservative Party.

The defiant Mr Johnson had suggested that he had a mandate to govern from the almost 14 million voters who voted for the Conservatives in December 2019 when he swept to power with a promise to sort out Britain’s exit from the European Union after years of bitter wrangling.

The latest crisis erupted after lawmaker Chris Pincher, who held a government role involved in pastoral care, was forced to quit over accusations he groped men in a private member’s club.

Mr Johnson had to apologise after it emerged that he was briefed that Mr Pincher had been the subject of previous sexual misconduct complaints before he appointed him.

The issue followed months of scandals and missteps, including a damning report into parties at his Downing Street residence and office that broke strict COVID-19 lockdown rules and resulted in him being him fined by police.

-with Reuters





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