More than 50 resignations, Johnson still desperately clings to power
Resignations across the UK government continue to roll as loyalists, as well as others, continue to call on Johnson to resign but he refuses and defies their calls by firing prior allies.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson clung to power on Thursday despite over 50 ministers and aides, including cabinet members, having quit the government since last Tuesday. Johnson was called on by loyalists to step down from his position.
As an act of defiance to these calls, Johnson decided to fire the first minister to request he steps down for the collective good of the Tory party and the country, Communities Secretary Michael Gove. The secretary was a top ally of the PM, and his right hand in the 2016 Brexit referendum, however, BBC reported that the latter referred to him as a “snake.”
Johnson made his "last stand," according to the Daily Express, the Daily Telegraph referred to him as "mortally wounded," and The Times said he was "fighting (for) his life." All of these publications are typically fiercely pro-Conservative.
Johnson was criticized as "desperate and deluded" by The Guardian, which is on the opposing side of the political spectrum. This shows that the general feeling in the UK across the political spectrum is united on the need for the scandal-hit PM to step down from his position.
More resignations come in as a new day begins. British Minister of State (Minister of Security) Damian Hinds resigned earlier today stating that "It shouldn’t take the resignation of dozens of colleagues, but for our country, and trust in our democracy, we must have a change of leadership."
It has been a huge privilege and responsibility to serve as security minister.— Damian Hinds (@DamianHinds) July 7, 2022
It shouldn’t take the resignation of dozens of colleagues, but for our country, and trust in our democracy, we must have a change of leadership.
My letter to the PM: pic.twitter.com/V82wT5P2Ta
Furthermore, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland & Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth Brandon Lewis resigned and stated that "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."
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.— Brandon Lewis (@BrandonLewis) July 7, 2022
I have submitted my letter of resignation to the Prime Minister. pic.twitter.com/EG6u52BdDc
Furthermore, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Helen Whately also resigned without further comments.
With sincere regret I am resigning from Government pic.twitter.com/HpQ2rgkr4q— Helen Whately (@Helen_Whately) July 7, 2022
Science Minister George Freeman has also resigned and said that "The chaos in No10, the breakdown of Cabinet collective responsibility, the abandonment of the Ministerial code, the defence of impropriety & defiance of Parliament are all insults to the Conservatism I believe in and stand for."
Enough is enough. This can’t go on.— George Freeman MP (@GeorgeFreemanMP) July 7, 2022
The chaos in No10, the breakdown of Cabinet collective responsibility, the abandonment of the Ministerial code, the defence of impropriety & defiance of Parliament are all insults to the Conservatism I believe in and stand for: pic.twitter.com/7OO5fbzdPO
Guy Opperman, Pensions Minister, followed other ministers and resigned with an added statement saying that "we need leadership change, and I have resigned."
It has been a honour, and a great responsibility, to serve as a minister, but we need leadership change, and I have resigned. I will continue to work for my constituents in Hexham from the backbenches.— Guy Opperman (@GuyOpperman) July 7, 2022
My letter to the PM. pic.twitter.com/1BQMaY1ITI
Last, up until now, would be the resignation of Tech Minister Chris Philip who said in a tweet that "The PM should step down given public and Parliamentary confidence has clearly gone, and given the importance of integrity in public life."
I’m deeply saddened it has come to this, but the PM should step down given public and Parliamentary confidence has clearly gone, and given the importance of integrity in public life. I’m therefore stepping down as Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy now pic.twitter.com/iXyd7inBQP— Chris Philp (@CPhilpOfficial) July 7, 2022
The government is broken
Over 50 British governmental officials and ministers have submitted their resignations, including Solicitor General for England and Wales Alex Chalk, Health Secretary Sajid Javid, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Even more so, 69% of British citizens believe that Johnson should resign.
The resignation of MPs Javid and Sunak, came after Johnson admit he was aware of Christopher Pincher’s charges against Conservative MP Christopher Pincher at the time he was appointed as Deputy Chief of the Conservative Party.
The pincher scandal alongside the partygate scandal resulted in a loss of trust of the British people and their representatives in Johnson’s leadership.
When Johnson returned to Downing Street on Wednesday after a protracted questioning by a parliamentary committee, members of his cabinet confronted him.
Hardline interior minister Priti Patel and Sunak's successor Nadhim Zahawi were reportedly part of the delegation, although Johnson's Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) James Duddridge later denied Zahawi's presence.
According to Camilla Cavendish, a former head of Downing Street's policy unit, Britain no longer has "a functioning government."
Late into the evening, Johnson continued to receive calls to leave.
Suella Braverman, the attorney general, told the television network ITV that while she wouldn't step down, "the balance has tipped now in favor of saying... it's time to go."
She said that she will participate in a leadership competition.
Time to go
Mark Garnett, a senior lecturer in politics and international relations at Lancaster University, said that the resignations of Sunak and Javid indicate a "wider perception of Johnson as a vote-loser among Tory lawmakers."
"Since Johnson's reputation for winning elections was the only reason for his rise to the premiership, MPs no longer see any reason to keep him in office and to support him through an apparently endless series of scandals," Garnett explained, adding that "there will be more resignations, but it is unlikely that any cabinet ministers will go since the remaining ones owe their position to Johnson and will lose their jobs under any of his likely successors."
With Johnson's series of horrendous scandals and law-breaking record during the Covid-19 lockdown, conservatives and labor members alike have been calling on the PM to step down, questioning his leadership. Earlier in February, Conservative members of the parliament, even loyalists, demanded that the PM be removed from his position if investigations reveal he committed a criminal offense. Johnson barely survived the no-confidence vote, and with the ongoing resignations, he appears to not stand another chance.
Having been challenged about a month ago with the no-confidence vote, the PM would ordinarily not face another challenge of the sort for the next year. However, the "1922 Committee" of non-ministerial Tory MPs is seeking to elect a fresh lineup of new members since the majority of the ministers left owe their position to Johnson and are likely to lose it once a successor rises to power.
On Wednesday, Boris Johnson addressed parliament and stated that "stable government, loving each other as Conservatives, getting on with our priorities." In response, resigned minister Javid told a hushed House of Commons "The problem starts at the top, and I believe that is not going to change," adding that this "means that it is for those of us in that position -- who have a responsibility -- to make that change."
At the end of the speech cries of "bye, Boris" echoed around the chamber.