More resignations in UK, Boris Johnson clings to power by a thread – Times of India

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(L-R) Sajid Javid (who was health minister in the British government), Rishi Sunak (who quit from the post of finance minister) and UK PM Boris Johnson. (File photo: AP)

LONDON: Embattled UK prime minister Boris Johnson was fighting for his political life on Wednesday night as the resignations of junior ministers, parliamentary aides and others continued to mount following the resignations of Cabinet heavyweights Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak on Tuesday.
Johnson faced repeated calls to resign from both opposition and his own MPs during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday where he was called a “dead parrot (a reference to a Monty Python comedy sketch)”, an “ex-prime minister” and a “pathetic spectacle”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer asked whether the resignations of Sunak and Javid were not the first recorded case of “sinking ships fleeing the rat”. “In the middle of a crisis, does the country not deserve better than a Z-list cast of nodding dogs,” Sir Keir asked at PMQs, referring to the current cabinet who remain on the front bench.
Johnson’s integrity and leadership are under fire as MPs accuse him of lying about Partygate and whether he knew about sexual misconduct allegations against an MP when he promoted him to a government role.
Johnson, however, vowed to carry on as prime minister. Cutting a confident figure at PMQs, he attacked the opposition and highlighted how his government was cutting taxes. “When things are tough, of course people turn their fire on the leader of the country, but it is my job to get on and deliver our manifesto — and that is what I am going to do,” he told MPs.
The 1922 Committee, the parliamentary group of Conservative Party backbenchers in the House of Commons, was due to hold a meeting late Wednesday afternoon local time. Conservative rebel MP Andrew Bridgen told TOI that following that meeting he expected Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the committee, to go and see the PM and ask him to resign and to tell him that if he does not, they will change the rules and there will be another confidence vote in him and he will lose it. “This is what happened with Theresa May in 2019 and she did resign,” he told TOI.
Johnson had thought he was in the clear late Tuesday when the Sunak-Javid resignations did not trigger the entire Cabinet to walk out. Instead, there were dozens of resignations by junior ministers and aides, including six ministers who announced their resignations at the same time.
Johnson swiftly reshuffled his Cabinet and appointed Nadhim Zahawi, who arrived in the UK as an Iraqi refugee, as Sunak’s replacement and Steve Barclay as education secretary.
In his resignation statement to MPs on Wednesday Javid urged the rest of the Cabinet to walk out, saying: “I fear the reset button can only work so many times. There are only so many times before you realise something is fundamentally wrong. I have concluded the problem starts at the top. That is not going to change. That means it is for those of us in a position of responsibility to make that change. I see Cabinet colleagues decided to remain in the Cabinet. It is a choice.”
One Conservative Indian councillor told TOI: “What I am seeing in WhatsApp groups are that the diaspora are happy with what Sunak has done. He has stood for our values. He put in his resignation letter this might be his last Cabinet job but I don’t think so. This was a chess move by him and Javid to gain the moral high ground. This is just going to be temporary. Both Sunak and Javid want bigger roles; there is only one role bigger than chancellor, and that is PM, and Sunak is ambitious and he will go for that if he has the opportunity. Javid resigned once before and came back into the Cabinet. That is how it works.”
Rami Ranger, patron of Conservative Friends of India, said, “Members are very disappointed about the infighting in the party as no party can get elected if not united.” He added members were disappointed Sunak had quit as he was the “pride of the community”.


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