In a shocking turn of events, former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned from Parliament. Accusing fellow lawmakers of conducting a “witch hunt” against him. Johnson’s departure has left a wake of chaos, as the Conservative government grapples with yet another seismic event attributed to the controversial figure. Despite the disarray, a loyal group of supporters remains steadfast in their belief that Johnson could stage a political comeback. The resignation of two of Johnson’s allies from the House of Commons has also increased pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Less than a year after being ousted as prime minister by his own party, Johnson unexpectedly announced his resignation as a lawmaker. Albeit with the caveat of “at least for now,” as he clarified in a self-justifying resignation statement.
Johnson’s decision came after he was informed that he would face sanctions for misleading Parliament regarding the infamous “party gate” scandal. The scandal involved a series of rule-breaking gatherings in the prime minister’s office during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Johnson himself was among those fined by the police for participating in late-night soirees, boozy parties. And “wine time Fridays” that flouted the government’s imposed restrictions.
Although Boris Johnson admitted to misleading Parliament by falsely assuring lawmakers that no rules had been broken. He maintained that it was not intentional, claiming he genuinely believed the gatherings were legitimate work events.
Johnson’s Allies Follow Suit: Increasing Pressure on PM Sunak as Resignations Mount
However, a standards committee investigating the matter took a different view. Johnson decided to resign after receiving the report from the Privileges Committee, which is yet to be disclosed publicly. The committee’s findings could have led to Johnson’s suspension from the House of Commons if it concluded that he had deliberately lied.
Characterizing the committee as a “kangaroo court” with a predetermined agenda to drive him out of Parliament. Johnson expressed his frustration with their actions. The committee, comprised mostly of Conservative members, deemed Johnson’s attack as undermining the integrity of the House of Commons. It announced its intention to hold a meeting on Monday to conclude the inquiry and promptly publish its report.
Johnson’s resignation will trigger a special election to fill his position as a lawmaker representing a suburban London seat in the House of Commons. The departure of Johnson’s allies, Nadine Dorries and Nigel Adams, has also necessitated three simultaneous by-elections. Creating an unwanted headache for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Johnson is known for his charisma and erratic behaviour, having experienced a series of scandals and comebacks throughout his career. As a key figure in the Brexit movement, he led the Conservative Party to a resounding victory in 2019. And successfully guided Britain’s exit from the European Union in the subsequent year. However, his tenure was marred by ethical and judgment controversies, ultimately resulting in his removal as prime minister by his own party in mid-2022.
Johnson’s Resignation Statement Takes Aim at Sunak and Calls for Party Momentum
By resigning from Parliament, Johnson avoids the possibility of being ousted from his Commons seat by his constituents. This move leaves him free to consider running for Parliament again in the future, as suggested in his resignation statement. Notably, his statement also included scathing criticism of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who had previously served as Johnson’s Treasury chief before leaving with several other colleagues in July 2022, precipitating Johnson’s own departure as prime minister.
The Conservative Party’s poll ratings plummeted during the turbulent final months of Johnson’s premiership and have yet to recover. Current opinion polls consistently place the opposition Labour Party more than 20 points ahead. A national election is scheduled to take place by the end of 2024.
In what sounded like a pitch for leadership, Johnson emphasized the urgent need for his party to regain momentum and rekindle its belief in the country