Boris Johnson, who has served as the Prime Minister of the UK for less than three years, has now resigned. By Thursday, over 50 members of his Conservative government had quit, including several key cabinet ministers. They decided to step down when Johnson took no action against MP Chris Pincher despite allegations of drunk misbehaviour and sexual misconduct.
Pincher had initially resigned, stating in his letter that he had “drank far too much” and “embarrassed myself and other people”, according to BBC. These are not the first allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Still, Johnson kept him at his post and took no action against him. This enraged several MPs. On Monday night, BBC broke the news that PM Boris Johnson was aware of the previous allegations before appointing Pincher. He later went on to admit that appointing Pincher had been a “bad mistake”.
In the aftermath of this, resignations came in from Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid. More and more senior members and cabinet ministers then began to follow suit. This included Home Secretary Priti Patel and Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi (who replaced Sunak). Education Secretary Michelle Donelan resigned just 36 hours after her appointment.
“Frankly, the job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances when you have been handed a colossal mandate is to keep going and that’s what I’m going to do.” BBC quoted Johnson when he appeared before the House of Commons. He wanted to continue hanging onto his position, despite several members of his Government resigning.
However, it seems like his exit is imminent. After discussions with Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, Johnson has agreed to step down. The party’s conference in October will decide the new Tory leader who will replace Johnson. Many MPs are in disagreement with the delay. They want Johnson gone immediately, and for a caretaker PM to step in until the new leader takes over.
Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, has declared that his party would issue a vote of no confidence against the PM if the Conservative Party didn’t remove him straight away.
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, offered her views on Twitter:
1. There will be a widespread sense of relief that the chaos of the last few days (indeed months) will come to an end, though notion of Boris Johnson staying on as PM until autumn seems far from ideal, and surely not sustainable? https://t.co/SQXuCC1HYH
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) July 7, 2022