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UK government resigns from top 50 as Prime Minister Boris Johnson clings to power


Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a press conference during a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, June 30, 2022.

yves herman | Reuters

LONDON — More than 50 MPs have resigned from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government since Tuesday as the unprecedented uprising against the leader within his own party continues.

After a torrent of resignations on Wednesday, more ministers resigned early Thursday morning, including Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis, Treasury Minister Helen Whately and Security Minister Damian Hinds.

A Sky News tally puts the total number of departures at 51 at 8am London time.

The 50th resignation came from George Freeman, an assistant minister for science, research and innovation, at around 7.20am London time. Pensions Minister Guy Opperman resigned soon after.

In a scathing resignation letter to the Prime Minister, Freeman said that “the culmination of your lack of transparency and candor with Parliament (and your willingness to ask your ministers to mislead Parliament), your removal of key pillars of the ministerial code, your handling of your appointment of a Deputy Chief Whip who you knew had a history of sexual abuse allegations is too much.”

“It seriously undermines the public’s trust and respect for government, democracy and the law, as well as the long tradition of this great Party as a party of standards, character, conduct, justice. integrity and duty to office and country before partisan interest,” he added.

CNBC has contacted Downing Street for comment. The Prime Minister has so far refused calls for his resignation, promising to “fight”.

Johnson has been embroiled in a series of scandals and allegations of public deception, but the final straw for many MPs involves Tory lawmaker Chris Pincher. The former deputy chief whip was suspended last week amid accusations he groped two men while intoxicated at a private club.

Johnson apologized on Tuesday for appointing Pincher’s deputy chief whip – a senior party role – when he was aware of an investigation into his behavior in 2019.

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