Boris Johnson’s leadership hangs by a thread after high-profile resignations

A YouGov poll early Tuesday showed that 69% of Britons surveyed want Johnson to resign. The survey of 3,009 adults found that only 18% wanted him to stay.

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LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership hangs by a thread after The resignations of two of his most prominent ministers and several other senior officials and ministerial assistants over the past 24 hours.

British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak resigned on Tuesday evening, saying the government must be run “correctly, efficiently and seriously”. Similarly, Health Minister Sajid Javid has submitted his resignation in protest of Johnson’s leadership which has been plagued by controversy and scandal in recent months.

When a number of senior Conservatives called for Johnson to resign, the government’s former Brexit negotiator David Frost also joined the fray, calling for the prime minister to step down without delay. In a newspaper column on Wednesday, Frost echoed other critics of Johnson by emphatically saying “it is time for him to go,” adding that “if he sticks to him, he risks bringing down the party and government with him.”

Despite calls to resign, the prime minister is showing no indications that he is ready to step down. Last night, he reconstituted his ministerial team to fill vacancies created by sudden resignations.

Several ministers defended Johnson, expressing their loyalty to him. Other notables remaining in the cabinet include Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, Secretary of State Liz Truss and Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Prospects for early elections

For now, the loyalty of senior ministers reduces the likelihood of an early election in Britain. For that to happen, Johnson would have to resign or face another vote of confidence. Since he only encountered such a vote last month, a new challenge would require a rule change to allow for another vote over the next 12 months.

“Current party rules state that Johnson cannot face another no-confidence vote until next summer. But the main risk now is either those rules will be changed to force another vote, or Johnson will be pressured to step down voluntarily,” Alan Monks, economist at JPMorgan , he said in a note Tuesday night.

“Events can move very quickly, with the Conservative leadership contest potentially appointing a new prime minister in the next two months or so – ahead of the party’s annual conference in early October.”

market response

Sterling pound It fell to a new low in March 2020 on Tuesday as political instability continued in the UK. The reaction of the markets in the next few days will be closely watched.

“There is paralysis and there is a lot of uncertainty about exactly how that will happen,” Ben Emmons, managing director of global macro strategy at Medley Global Advisors, told CNBC on Wednesday.

“The way the markets have responded, somewhat negatively with lower yields in sterling and gold in the UK, but then recovered and I think that suggests that as much uncertainty surrounds the Cabinet position and that of Johnson, it has not collapsed, and it still has the support “.

“We won’t see any snap elections, and they have to elect a new leader for that to happen, so I think the markets are feeling some relief in [the fact that] We are entering a period of uncertainty but this uncertainty reflects the status quo, and nothing will change in the economy or with politics.”Squawk Box Europe. “

series of scandals

The recent political turmoil to hit the UK follows a series of controversies, starting with ‘Party Gate’ scandal with Johnson and many other government officials who have been found to have violated pandemic lockdown rules, to spoil the allegations – the latest of which is about Chris Pincher, the Conservative Party’s deputy chairperson, who is responsible for maintaining party discipline.

Pincher resigned and was impeached from Parliament from the Conservative Party last week, after accusations that he groped two drunk men at a members club. It has since emerged that Johnson appointed him to the position despite being aware of previous allegations of misconduct against him.

Johnson apologized for appointing Pincher as vice president of the whip, but it was not too late after the high-profile resignations came just minutes later.

Johnson has weathered a number of challenges to his leadership in recent months, as well as calls to resign, particularly after a painful vote of confidence and the Conservative Party’s loss of a key by-election last month with the British public’s faith in him. Its leader wears thin.

a snap YouGov poll Conducted on Tuesday found that 69% of Britons surveyed want Johnson to resign. The survey of 3,009 adults found that only 18% wanted him to stay.

Among the Conservative voters surveyed, 54% said they wanted to see Johnson go, while 33% wanted him to stay, showing that Johnson has become an unpopular figure. For many of the voters who were initially drawn to his leadership in 2019, when he won 80 seats in his electoral bid to “get Brexit done”.

Britain’s opposition Labor Party leader Keir Starmer wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: “The Conservative Party is rotten and changing one man won’t fix that. Only a real change of government can give Britain the fresh start it needs.”

Nadim al-Zahawi, Britain’s new chancellor, told Sky News on Wednesday that he backed the prime minister and said “the team in the government today is the team that will get it done” but Ed Davey, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats, told CNBC that “it is clear.” It is in the national interest for Boris Johnson to go, and that Johnson has been shown to be a fraud in the past.

“Having someone as British Prime Minister who is not telling the truth clearly and lying on an industrial scale is hurting our democracy, hurting Britain’s reputation around the world and hurting our investments… We need a government that knows what to do.”

Johnson has been accused of lying on multiple occasions during his time in office although he has consistently denied doing so, and has denied misleading Parliament over the “Party Gate” scandal, which is under investigation.

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