UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is fighting for political survival after two of his top ministers attacked his leadership and resigned.
Chancellor, Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, quit within 10 minutes of each other, followed by a flurry of junior ministers and aides. Critics said it was “over” for the Prime Minister, while Labour said the party Mr. Johnson led is corrupted.
But a No.10 source said Mr. Johnson is determined to continue in office and “deliver what he promised the people”. In a move to shore up his government with a cabinet reshuffle, Mr. Johnson named Nadhim Zahawi as the new Chancellor, while the Prime Minister’s Chief of staff, Steve Barclay, is named as the Health Secretary.
A Heavy Task Ahead
Mr. Johnson will come under further pressure later on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, as he will face MPs at a session known as the Prime Minister’s Questions. He is also due to give evidence to the Liaison Committee, a group of MPs who scrutinise the government’s policy and decisions.
Bim Afolami, who quit as Vice-chair of the party live on TV on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, evening, said Downing Street’s handling of the Chris Pincher affair was “really appalling” and he could no longer “defend that sort of behaviour”. In an interview with the media, he disclosed that he supported Mr. Johnson in his recent confidence vote in order to give him time to rebuild trust after Partygate, but things “got a lot worse” in recent weeks.
Neither Mr. Javid nor Mr. Sunak publicly spoke since standing down, but their resignation letters on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, were highly critical of the Prime Minister. Mr. Javid warned the leadership is not “acting in the national interest”, while Mr. Sunak said the public expected government to be conducted “properly, competently and seriously”.
Response from Opposition
Opposition party leaders urged Cabinet Ministers to join the pair and resign, and Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, said he was ready for a snap general election.
Conservative MP and former Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell, told reporters that it is “over” for Mr. Johnson, pointing out that “he has neither the character nor the temperament to be our Prime Minister”, and the only question was how long the affair would go on.
More updates coming soon…