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Finance and health ministers resign in protest against Boris Johnson

Finance and health ministers resign in protest against Boris Johnson

The UK Finance and Health Ministers tendered their resignations on Tuesday, July 5. The senior officials’ resignation came shortly after the prime minister apologized for appointing a lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct to a pastoral care post in the Conservative Party. Boris Johnson is once again on the ropes.

A new setback for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Health Minister Sajid Javid resigned from their positions via letter on Tuesday, July 5. In it they mentioned Johnson’s inability to lead an Administration that complied with the rules.

“Citizens rightly expect the government to conduct itself properly, competently and seriously. I recognize that this may be my last ministerial post, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning,” Sunak said.

For his part, Javid noted in the letter that like many lawmakers and the public, he, too, had lost confidence in Johnson’s ability to govern in the national interest.

“I am extremely sorry to have to tell you that I can no longer, in good conscience, continue to serve in this government,” Javid said in his resignation letter.

The resignations came just minutes after Johnson apologized for appointing lawmaker Christopher Pincher, who has been accused of sexual misconduct, to a pastoral care post in the Conservative Party.

Sunak and Javid were in charge of two of the most pressing issues on the British agenda: the cost of living crisis and the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

They have repeatedly been seen as possible leadership contenders within the Conservative Party if Johnson is forced to leave. That is why his resignations were a big blow to the prime minister.

More resignations follow

The departures of the finance and health ministers were followed by those of the Parliament’s private secretaries, Jonathan Gullis and Saqib Bhatti. Officials in charge of assisting ministers in their role posted their resignation letters on social media.

Conservatives Bim Afolami and Andrew Murrison also resigned. The first resigned from the vice-presidency of the party, while the second resigned as commercial envoy to Morocco.

But Johnson still has the support of other high-ranking personalities. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace have indicated they will remain in their posts.

The sex scandal that hit the British Prime Minister’s team

The resignations came after Johnson apologized for appointing lawmaker Christopher Pincher to a pastoral care post in the Conservative Party.

Johnson assured that it had been “a mistake not to have realized” that Pincher was not suitable for a government position, since he had been denounced for sexual misconduct.

“I apologize to everyone who has been affected by it,” Johnson told reporters, seeking to make it clear that “there is no place in this government for anyone who is predatory or who abuses their position of power.”

However, this latest explanation by Johnson increased frustration with the ruling party.

It is worth noting that the changes in the Downing Street narrative since Pincher resigned from his post last week had already embittered the likes of Simon McDonald, the most senior official in the UK Foreign Office between 2015 and 2020, and who considers that Johnson is still not telling the truth.

A critical few months for Boris Johnson

The Johnson administration has been embroiled in several recent scandals.

A month ago, the British Prime Minister survived a vote of confidence following the scandal over the parties held in Downing Street during the confinement due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Back then, he had the support of Sunak and Javid.

But even as he managed to stay in office, the prime minister’s shifting responses to months of allegations of parties at government offices fueled lingering concerns about his leadership.

Two weeks later, the Conservative candidates were defeated in two special elections to fill vacant seats in Parliament. This revealed discontent within Johnson’s party.

The ‘premier’ has also been criticized for not doing enough to address the rising cost of living. Many Britons are struggling to cope with rising fuel and food prices.

According to economists, the UK is edging ever closer to a sharp slowdown or possibly a recession.

The opposition presses for a change of government

After the resignation of two senior ministers, the leader of the Labor Party – the main opposition party -, Keir Starmer, stated that, “after all the sleaze, the scandals and the failure”, it is clear that the Government of Boris Johnson ” is collapsing.”

Starmer assured that he would “welcome an early election”, and indicated that, in his opinion, “only a real change of government can give the United Kingdom the new start it needs”.

Meanwhile, a lawmaker previously loyal to Johnson assured that the prime minister “is finished” and that therefore, “he should not prolong the agony” since “it is a lack of respect for his colleagues, his party and his country.”

In the coming weeks, Conservative lawmakers will choose new members of the committee that will set the party’s parliamentary rules.

Several candidates have suggested they would support changing the rules to allow another vote of no confidence. Current rules require a period of 12 months between such votes.

With EFE, AP and Reuters

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Written by Editor TLN

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