United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a recent “no confidence” vote but now faces a mass exodus of government leaders as he confronts ongoing controversy.
The large-scale departures include more than 30 resignations from the British government since Tuesday, including at least 13 junior ministers and three cabinet members.
⚡️BBC breaking news ⚡️Michael Gove becomes the 3rd minister to leave the Cabinet. Six more ministers have quit, making a total of 13 junior ministers & 9 PPS have now resigned. ⚡️ 6 ministers (incl 2 in Cabinet) undeclared. Plus a Party Vice Cairman & 3 trade envoys. Crikey.
— Dr Peter Caddick-Adams #StandwithUkraine (@militaryhistori) July 6, 2022
Member of Parliament Huw Merriman was among the most recent leaders to step down on Wednesday, with his resignation letter being tweeted while he sat in a Liaison Committee meeting with Johnson.
“Events of the past few days, however, have demonstrated a further failure on the part of the Prime Minister, in terms of judgment, competency and integrity,” Merriman wrote.
“We cannot continue like this,” he added. “The current situation is causing inertia in Government and if we allow standards expected of those in public service to fall, we will lose the trust of the public and we will never attract high calibre, trustworthy and hard-working individuals into politics or public service,” he added.
My statement on the Prime Minister: pic.twitter.com/ItT8zUCEgp
— Huw Merriman MP (@HuwMerriman) July 6, 2022
Johnson remained resilient despite calls from those in the Wednesday committee meeting who called for his resignation, though he admitted that the U.K. was “going through tough times.”
“You’re making a point about duty. I look at the issues we face today… I look at the biggest war in Europe for 80 years, and I cannot see for the life of me how it is responsible to just walk away like that,” he told the committee.
What has Johnson done to set off the ire of so many in his own government? Part of the battle stretches back to an event dubbed the “Partygate” scandal that led to 126 fines related to breaking COVID rules at a holiday party. The highly-publicized incident portrayed Johnson as leading elites in revelry while others were sacrificing and mourning across the nation.
More recently, Johnson faced allegations that he lied to cover up being aware of “multiple allegations of sexual misconduct” against Tory Member of Parliament Chris Pincher before he became the government’s deputy chief whip.
On Tuesday, Lord McDonald of Salford, the former head of the Foreign Office, revealed that the prime minister had been informed of an investigation regarding Pincher before Johnson gave him the job. McDonald wrote in the letter that testified Johnson was briefed on the matter “in person.”
During a recent “no confidence” vote attempt in which opponents had hoped to force Johnson out of office, just 211 of 359 Conservative Members of Parliament voted in his favor for him to remain prime minister. The narrow victory means that Johnson cannot face another “no confidence” vote for 12 months under current British law.
Instead, critics have now resorted to a widescale resignation of government leaders across Parliament and beyond in order to force a change in the situation. Another option would be for party leaders to change the one-year rule regarding another “no confidence” vote that could require Johnson to either resign or force a new election.
Despite controversies at home, Johnson has remained a staunch defender of the United States. As The Daily Wire previously reported, when CNN’s Jake Tapper tried to encourage Johnson to bash democracy in America during a recent interview, the prime minister refused.
“When I talk to friends in Canada, the U.K., Australia and elsewhere, people express concern about the United States … in terms of our ability and our institutions to thrive and continue, after what happened with the election of 2020,” Tapper said. “They’re worried that democracy is on life support in the United States.”
“Are you worried at all?” Tapper asked. “Do you look at—”
“No,” Johnson fired back.
“You’re not?” Tapper asked.
“I want to say this to the people of the United States. I’m not,” Johnson responded. “I think that — I just get back to the — what I have been trying to say to you throughout this interview. I think that reports of the death of democracy in the United States are grossly, grossly exaggerated. America is a shining city on a hill.”
“I don’t believe that American democracy is under serious threat, far from it,” Johnson later added. “I continue to believe that America is the greatest global guarantor of democracy and freedom.”