Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, fought to stay in office Wednesday despite calls for him to resign after top ministers and a number of junior officials stated that they couldn't continue serving under his scandal-plagued leadership.
Johnson refused to resign during a stormy session of House of Commons. This was amid furore over Johnson's handling of allegations of sexual misconduct against a senior official. A delegation from his closest friends in Cabinet visited Johnson at 10 Downing Street later in the day to urge him to resign, Britain's Press Association reported.
According to the news agency, the prime minister rejected suggestions that he seek a dignified exit and instead chose to fight for his political career. He cited "hugely important problems facing the country" as reasons. According to the news agency, Johnson told his colleagues that he would cause chaos if he resigned.
The 58 year-old leader who pulled Britain from the European Union and guided it through the COVID-19 epidemic is well-known for his ability to get out of tight spots. He was accused of being too close to party donors, protecting supporters from bullying and corruption allegations and misleading Parliament about government offices that violated pandemic lockdown rules.
Even though 41% of Conservative lawmakers voted against him last month in a no confidence vote, he remained strong.
Recent revelations about Johnson's knowledge of sexual misconduct allegations against a man in law before he promoted him to a senior role pushed Johnson to the brink.
Many Conservatives worried that Johnson did not have the moral authority to lead at a time of difficult decisions regarding soaring energy and food prices, rising COVID-19 infection rates and the war in Ukraine. Some worry that Johnson may be a liability when he goes to the polls.
Johnson was greeted by members of the Labour Party, who shouted "Go!" Go!'' During the weekly Prime Minister's Questions ritual in the House of Commons.
Keir Starmer, Labour Party leader, mockingly stated that Johnson's resignations were "the first recorded case where the sinking ship fled the rat?"
Even more troubling, Johnson's Conservative Party members, tired of the numerous scandals he has had to face, also challenged their leader. One asked if there was any reason he should resign.
"Frankly, the job of the prime Minister in difficult circumstances, when it's been given a colossal mandat is to keep going," Johnson responded with the same bluster he used to defend himself against critics during nearly three years in office. "And that's exactly what I'm going do."
Sajid Javid, former Health Secretary, was responsible for triggering the current crisis Tuesday night when he resigned. He captured the mood of many lawmakers by claiming that Johnson's actions threatened the integrity of both the Conservative Party (and the British government)
He told his fellow legislators, "At some point, we have to conclude enough is enough." "I believe that the point is now."
Party rules prohibit another no-confidence vote for 11 more months. However, party members have the power to change this rule.
Months of discontent over Johnson’s judgement and ethics flared when Treasury chief Rishi Sonak and Javid resigned within minutes each other on Tuesday evening. These Cabinet heavyweights were responsible to tackle two of Britain's most pressing issues: COVID-19 and the cost-of living crisis.
Sunak wrote in a harsh letter: "The public rightly demands that government be properly conducted, competently, and seriously." ... These standards are worth fighting for, and that is why I am resigning."
More than 30 junior ministers resigned on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Johnson continued to dig in. Critics accused him of refusing the inevitable and acting more like a president rather than a prime Minister by referring back to his "mandate". The British elect a party that will govern and not the prime minister.
Andrew Mitchell, former International Development Secretary, stated late Tuesday that Johnson's time had come.
Mitchell said to the BBC that it was akin to the death of Rasputin. "He's been poisoned and stabbed, shot, and his body's been dumped into a freezing river. And yet he lives." "But this is an unusual prime minister. He's a brilliantly charismatic person, very funny, very amusing and a big, strong character. He is not the right temperament nor character to be our prime minster, I fear.
Sunak and Javid were finally hit by the handling of allegations of sexual misconduct against Chris Pincher, a Conservative lawmaker.
Pincher, who was accused of groping two men in a private club last week, resigned his position as deputy chief whip. This triggered a series reports on past allegations against Pincher, as well as shifting explanations by the government about Johnson's knowledge when he selected Pincher for a top job in enforcing party discipline.
Ministers, who were sent out to defend government position on radio and television interviews, found the story had changed.
Paul Drechsler is chair of the International Chamber of Commerce in Britain. He stated that change at the top is necessary if the government wants to address an economic crisis.
According to him, "I believe that feeding hungry people is the most important thing you can do." "The second half of the year will see the poorest members of our society starving to death. This must be addressed.