The future is uncertain for Boris Johnson as he remains defiant amid dozens of resignations by members and ministers of his Conservative party. Will he be able to survive the latest challenge to his leadership?
Scandal-ridden British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s job hangs by a thread as Cabinet ministers continue to leave him.
On Wednesday, the flood of resignations – which began with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid – continued with Welsh Secretary Simon Hart joining the more than 40 ministers and aides who quit in 24 hours.
During the same period, the beleaguered British Prime Minister sacked Chief Cabinet Minister Michael Gove, known for criticizing his time in Downing Street. Gove, a former ally in the Brexit campaign but who derailed Johnson’s first bid for the Tory leadership, had urged the Prime Minister to step down earlier in the day.
Despite the mass exodus sparked by questions raised over his competence, one of Johnson’s top aides said he was in a “vibrant mood” and would “keep fighting” to stay in the job. British Prime Minister.
“At some point we have to conclude that enough is enough,” former health secretary Sajid Javid, the first of many ministers to resign in the last 24 hours, told Johnson in parliament earlier on Wednesday. “I have concluded that the problem starts at the top, that is not going to change.”
So what if Johnson refuses to step down even as swathes of the Conservative Party are calling for his ouster? Can he be ousted from power?
Here are some scenarios.
A vote of no confidence?
The easiest or most likely route to push Boris Johnson out of 10 Downing would be a vote of no confidence. However, Johnson is technically safe and cannot be forcibly removed under existing Conservative rules.
Indeed, he already survived a vote of no confidence last month and, under current rules, there can be no more votes of no confidence for a year.
However, these rules can be changed, and the key to this is the 1922 Committee, the official caucus of backbench Conservatives. A group of around a dozen Conservative backbenchers, they determine the rules under which a sitting leader can be challenged.
With the committee meeting next week, there are reports that they will change the rule in a way that will make another vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister possible.
If done, Johnson would face another vote of no confidence and it looks like he would lose that vote. The outcome for Johnson in June was already poor compared to previous leaders, who stepped down on principle with better levels of support.
If a vote is called, MPs are sure to vote against him, albeit pragmatically to end the turmoil.
Early Thursday morning, Boris Johnson saw 45 resignations. Calls for him to step down are growing louder by the hour, with even one-time loyalists like Priti Patel and Grant Shapps calling for him to quit.
In his resignation letter, Rishi Sunak said he was “sad to leave the government”, but came to the conclusion that “we cannot continue like this”.
“The public rightly expects government to be run properly, competently and seriously. I recognize that this may be my last ministerial post, but I believe these standards are worth upholding and that is why I am stepping down.
The public rightly expects government to be run properly, competently and responsibly.
I recognize that this may be my last ministerial post, but I believe these standards are worth upholding and that is why I am stepping down.
My letter to the Prime Minister below. pic.twitter.com/vZ1APB1ik1
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) July 5, 2022
Sajid Javid said he had lost faith in Johnson’s ability to govern in the national interest after a series of scandals, saying he could “no longer continue in good conscience”. He said many lawmakers and the public had lost faith 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 therefore you have also lost my trust,” Javid said in a letter to Johnson.
I spoke to the Prime Minister to tender my resignation as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
It has been a great privilege to serve in this role, but I regret that I cannot continue in good conscience. pic.twitter.com/d5RBFGPqXp
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) July 5, 2022
Days or weeks of ministers resigning and MPs calling him out would be a bad look for the prime minister and indeed the country.
However, the likelihood of that happening is outweighed by some Cabinet ministers – including Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg remaining loyal to the Prime Minister.
A snap election
One possibility England could see would be Boris Johnson visiting Buckingham Palace to demand the dissolution of Parliament and call for a general election.
For now, the next elections are not scheduled before January 2025.
Johnson powered by the Dissolution and Summons of Parliament Act 2022 – which was introduced in 2019 – could call for a snap election.
The simplest and simplest solution to the turmoil in Britain would be for Boris Johnson to resign. However, that scenario seems unlikely at the moment as Johnson hangs on and shows no sign of resigning.
The crisis is due to a series of scandals which have destroyed his reputation with the public; he was fined by police for attending one of the many parties that took place in Downing Street during the lockdown; he lost two MPs to sex scandals and admitted he had been briefed on an allegation against Chris Pincher before promoting him to Deputy Chief Whip, although his ministers and aides initially claimed otherwise.
With contributions from agencies
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