LAST UPDATE: 23:48
Boris Johnson announced for the umpteenth time today his decision not to resign despite the growing voices calling for his removal from the prime ministership and the “tsunami” of resignations of ministers and government officials.
The British prime minister, during meetings he had early Wednesday night with his government ministers at Downing Street, some of whom were there to ask him to step down, stressed that his resignation would lead the country to ” chaos,” while adding that it would “almost certainly” lead to a Conservative defeat at the next election.
At the same time, Johnson emphasized that his refusal to resign is related to his personal interest and his own pursuits and that his decision concerns the good of the country, adding that he will fight a possible new impeachment motion against him.
According to British media, the newly appointed finance minister Nadeem Zahawi, who was earlier reported to be going to Downing Street with the group of ministers who will demand Johnson’s resignation, expressed his support for the person of the British prime minister after the meeting with him.
However, Johnson’s insistence on ignoring the growing voices within the government establishment calling for his departure from the prime ministership is estimated to lead to further resignations of government officials.
Meanwhile, as dissatisfaction with the face of the British prime minister continues to grow, the 1922 Committee of the Conservative party that met today decided not to change the regulation for the time being that would allow a new motion of impeachment to be filed against Johnson.
In particular, the 1922 Committee decided to proceed first with the election of its new members and the renewal of its mandate, which is scheduled to take place on Monday, and then its new bureau will decide whether to proceed with changing the internal party regulations, opening the way to bring forward a new motion of impeachment against Boris Johnson.
On Wednesday evening, UK Sky news reporter Tom Larkin said on Twitter that a vote of impeachment against Boris Johnson could start as early as tonight, citing a member of the 1922 Commission that oversees such votes.
Larkin stressed that the committee’s rules, which currently give Johnson immunity until next year from a vote on the format proposal, would likely change this afternoon.
NEW: member of ’22 exec says rules likely to be changed this afternoon and a vote of confidence could be triggered TONIGHT. Would require enough MPs to re-submit letters of no confidence
— Tom Larkin (@TomLarkinSky) July 6, 2022
Barrage of resignations
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is fighting to stay in office amid a “rain” of resignations from his government in protest at his leadership.
The new finance minister, Nadeem Zahawi, called for unity after his predecessor, the health minister, and several other ministers left.
Johnson’s position is in crisis following the dramatic resignations of former finance minister Rishi Sunak and former health secretary Sajid Javid.
They resigned within minutes on Tuesday after a row over Johnson’s decision to appoint Chris Pincher to a cabinet post.
Their departures prompted a wave of resignations from other MPs, a trend that continued on Wednesday.
By early evening (Greece time), the resignations of ministers and government officials had reached 38, while it is possible that others will follow.
👋38 resignations so far. Will there be more if the PM ignores the ministers telling him it’s time to go?
🔷 2 Cabinet Ministers
🔷 15 Ministers
🔷 17 PPS
🔷 1 Vice Chair
🔷 3 Trade Envoys pic.twitter.com/XDUFGi0ZYF
— Tom Larkin (@TomLarkinSky) July 6, 2022
The “tsunami” of resignations also raises questions about whether the government can continue to function smoothly with so many “empty positions”.
All those who resigned said they no longer trusted the British prime minister, with analysts in London stressing that it is no longer a question of if Boris Johnson will resign but when.
According to press reports, even Michael Gove, one of the most prominent members of the Conservative Party, who has great influence within the party, has asked Boris Johnson to resign.
Mr Johnson admitted it was a “bad mistake” to appoint Pincher, despite being aware of allegations of misconduct on his part.
Queens, who had taken it upon himself to defend the prime minister in media interviews two days ago, said Downing Street had given him “inaccurate” information. In his resignation letter, he added that he had “no choice” but to resign.
The row over Pincher’s appointment comes after Johnson’s relationship with his MPs has been hit by the Partygate scandal and discontent over tax rises.
It is recalled that Johnson survived a censure motion among Tory MPs last month, which means that under current party rules he is “protected” from another censure motion for a year.
Several key cabinet ministers, including foreign secretary and potential leadership contender Liz Truss, have rallied around the prime minister.
Boris Johnson is prepared for further resignations, perhaps not from the cabinet, but from the next “step” on the cabinet ladder.
The country’s media are wondering whether Boris Johnson will survive the weekend, with the Guardian calling it a “crushing blow to his power” and the Times saying the resignations were “apparently coordinated” and have brought to the prime minister “a potentially fatal blow”. But the pro-government Daily Telegraph also claims that the prime minister’s political future “hangs by a thread”.
A YouGov poll shows the same, in which 69% of respondents say Boris Johnson should resign. 13% say they have no opinion and only 18% still support him.
Johnson dismissed the government’s cabinet minister
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has sacked one of the Conservatives’ most prominent figures, Prime Minister Michael Gove, the BBC’s political editor Chris Mason reported.
Gove was among those members of the government who called on Johnson to resign.
According to Sky News, Johnson and new finance minister Nadeem Zahawi plan to present the government’s new economic plan next Tuesday. A Johnson adviser, James Dandridge, reportedly said that this new plan would “certainly” include tax breaks.
“No, no, no,” Johnson’s response to whether he would resign
Earlier on Wednesday, the British Prime Minister, speaking in Parliament, stressed that the conditions were not met for him to resign.
“Clearly, if there were circumstances where I felt it was impossible for the government to continue to carry out the mandate that we’ve been given, or if I felt, for example, that we were being let down in our desire to support the Ukrainian people, then I would proceed to resignation,” Johnson told parliament.
“But frankly, the job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances, when you’ve been given a colossal mandate, is to get on with the job,” Johnson noted, adding: “And that’s what I’m going to do.”
Johnson also told MPs that the economy was facing difficult times and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine represented the worst war in Europe for 80 years.
The British prime minister also said he detests bullying and abuse of power when asked why he promoted a Conservative MP after sexual harassment allegations were made against him.
A spokesman for Johnson said earlier this week that Johnson was aware of some allegations made against former Conservative caucus leader Chris Pincher, who was last week expelled from the party.
“I abhor bullying and abuse of power wherever it occurs, in this party or any other party,” Johnson told parliament when asked why Pincher had been promoted to the post.
The British prime minister this afternoon again rejected growing calls for him to step down after a series of ministerial resignations and calls from Conservative MPs for him to step down.
Asked on his arrival for a scheduled appearance before a parliamentary committee if he would resign, Johnson replied: “No, no, no.”
Later before a parliamentary committee, Boris Johnson said he would “of course” continue as prime minister despite a barrage of resignations from ministers and senior government officials and growing calls from MPs in his own party for him to step down.
Asked by a committee member if he would still be prime minister tomorrow, Johnson replied: “Of course.”
He also told the committee that the country did not want politicians to “engage in vote-hunting”, responding to a question about whether permission from Queen Elizabeth was needed to hold an election.
“I don’t think anybody in this country wants politicians to engage in vote-hunting,” Johnson said. “I think we need to continue to serve our constituents and address issues they care about.”
Johnson, during his presence in the parliamentary committee, reiterated that he does not intend to resign, stating that the last thing the country needs is a national election.
The reason for the “demobilization” process
It all started because once again Boris Johnson was “caught with the goat on his back”, as he denied knowing that in 2019 there had been a sexual harassment investigation against the then Undersecretary for Europe Chris Pincher. It later turned out that he knew, with the Times even claiming that Boris Johnson had been told five times about Pincher’s past and still gave him a new position within the party.
Pincher recently resigned from his latest post, that of deputy leader of the Conservative caucus, after admitting he had drunkenly assaulted two men at a Conservative party club last week.