LONDON: United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson was clinging to power Tuesday after two of his most senior Cabinet ministers quit, saying they had lost confidence in Johnson’s leadership amid shifting explanations about his handling of a sexual misconduct scandal.
Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid tendered their resignation within minutes of each other, which cost Mr. Johnson the support of the men responsible for tackling two of the biggest issues facing Britain — the cost-of-living crisis and surging COVID-19 infections.
Both cited the Britan Prime Minister’s credibility a day after Johnson was forced to backtrack on earlier statements about the scandal that has rattled his government for the past six days.
The debacle is only the latest to hit MrJohnson, who last month narrowly survived a vote of no confidence triggered by similarly shifting stories about lockdown-breaking parties in government offices.
In his resignation letter, Javid stated the confidence vote showed a large number of Conservative Party lawmakers had lost trust in Mr.Johnson.
A few minutes later, Sunak echoed the statements.
“The public rightly expects the government to be conducted properly, competently, and seriously,” Sunak said. “I realize that this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning.”
Both Sunak and Javid are seen as possible candidates for a replacement for Mr. Johnson if he is forced out.
While the resignations piled up pressure on the prime minister, MrJohnson has earlier proven to be an adept politician, fighting off criticism to prolong his career.
According to Downing Street, Mr. Johnson has named two loyalists for the positions: Steve Barclay will be the new Health Secretary and Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi will replace Sunak as Treasury chief.
Adding to the political crisis for Mr. Johnson, Will Quince, minister for children and families, along with junior transport minister Laura Trott have also quit the Boris Johnson government.
Will Quince has said he had “no choice but to tender my resignation” after his stepping down while Laura Trott said “She was quitting over a loss of “trust” in the government.”
However, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss swiftly threw her support behind Johnson. Other Cabinet members, including Culture Secretary Nadine Dories, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, and Home Secretary Priti Patel, were also in his corner.
But Scott Lucas, an emeritus professor at the University of Birmingham and a longtime political observer, said it would be difficult for Johnson to ultimately survive the departure of two such senior members of his Cabinet.
“He’s not going to go without a fight,” Lucas said. “I just don’t know how many people are left to fight alongside him.”
As an independent media platform, we do not take advertisements from governments and corporate houses. It is you, our readers, who have supported us on our journey to do honest and unbiased journalism. Please contribute, so that we can continue to do the same in future.