Twin Blow To Boris Johnson Government As Chancellor Rishi Sunak And Health Secretary Sajid Javid Quit

by Nishtha Anushree - Jul 6, 2022 09:19 AM +05:30 IST
Twin Blow To Boris Johnson Government As Chancellor Rishi Sunak And Health Secretary Sajid Javid QuitBoris Johnson

Two Cabinet colleagues of British PM Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid, stepped down from their posts on 5 July.

What led to the resignation: It was a high-drama day since a former civil servant spoke out about Downing Street's handling of allegations of sexual misconduct against recently suspended MP Chris Pincher.

  • Johnson said he "bitterly regrets" giving Pincher the government role of Deputy Chief Whip after being made aware of a misconduct complaint against him.

  • The British PM has been accused of not acting against Pincher even though he knew of the allegations against him in 2019.

Content of the resignation letters: Sunak posted his resignation letter on Twitter saying that this may be his last ministerial job, but he believes that these standards are worth fighting for.

  • Pakistan-born Javid said that the Conservative Party is not competent under Johnson's leadership and, therefore, he has lost confidence in it.

  • It was followed up by a few other junior resignations, including party vice chair Bim Afolami — who called on Johnson to resign as he has lost the "support of the party and the country."

  • Saqib Bhatti, parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to Javid and Jonathan Gullis, and PPS to Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis have also quit.

The allegations: On 29 June, Pincher visited a club in Piccadilly, where two men accused him of groping them.

  • Before that, in 2017, former professional rower and Tory activist Alex Story had accused Pincher of making sexual passes at him in 2001.

  • Pincher has faced other allegations of making sexual passes at people, including two Tory MPs.

Government collapsing? Opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer declared that it is clear the government is "now collapsing."

  • Even if there are no more resignations, the mood in the ruling Conservative Party has already turned against Johnson, perhaps decisively.

  • Under the rules, Johnson is safe from another leadership challenge until next summer. But the executive of the 1922 Committee can change the rules whenever it wants.

  • Last month, Johnson survived a confidence vote, but the final count of his lawmakers who rebelled against him was higher than his supporters expected; 41 per cent of his own Conservative parliamentary party refused to back him.

  • For months, Johnson has been facing a barrage of criticism and rebellion over his conduct, and that of his government, including illegal, Covid-19-linked lockdown-breaking parties at his Downing Street offices for which he and others were fined by the police.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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