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British Prime Minister Johnson faces a parliamentary scrutiny after top ministers resigned

#British #Prime #Minister #Johnson #faces #parliamentary #scrutiny #top #ministers #resigned

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces two high-level meetings in Parliament on Wednesday after his government was rocked by the shock departure of two senior ministers.

Rishi Sunak resigned as finance minister and Sajid Javid as health minister on Tuesday night. Both said they could no longer tolerate the scandalous culture that has dogged Johnson for months.

They will now sit in the back benches of the Conservatives at the weekly session of Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons at 1100 GMT – which promises to be even more flammable than usual.

Johnson then faces an hour-long barbecue from the chairmen of the House of Commons’ most powerful committees, which include some of his most vicious critics in the Tory ranks.

The departures of Sunak and Javid were announced minutes after the Prime Minister apologized for the appointment of a senior Conservative who resigned last week after he was accused of drunkenly groping two men.

Former Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi has been appointed to the Treasury Department.

The resignation of deputy chief whip Chris Pincher was followed by days of mixed statements. Downing Street initially denied Johnson was aware of previous allegations against Pincher when he appointed him in February.

But by Tuesday, that defense had collapsed after a former top official said Johnson was briefed as Secretary of State in 2019 of another incident involving his ally.

The Pincher affair was the “icing on the cake” for Sunak and Javid, Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, a Johnson critic, told Sky News.

“It’s time for Boris to go. He can delay that for a few more hours if he wants.

“But I and much of the party are now adamant that he will be gone by summer recess (starting July 22): the sooner the better.”

The resignations dominated the front pages of British newspapers. Under the headline “Johnson on the brink,” the Times wrote that the “apparently coordinated” move “dealed a potentially fatal blow to the prime minister.”

“Johnson is hanging by a thread while Sunak and Javid are leaving,” the Prime Minister’s former employers told The Daily Telegraph.

The Guardian and Financial Times also said the PM was “on the brink”, while the conservative tabloid Daily Mail was more colourful: “Can even Boris weave the greased piglet out of this?”

The resignations came after Johnson narrowly escaped a no-confidence vote by Conservative MPs a month ago.

Other Cabinet members, including Secretary of State Liz Truss and Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace — two likely contenders for the leadership — continue to support Johnson, aides said.

– humility? –

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a staunchly loyal Cabinet ally, dismissed the resignations as “minor local troubles”.

“Losing Chancellor is something that happens,” he said on Sky News, pointing to previous Tory leaders – although Margaret Thatcher was ultimately crushed by a cabinet revolt by top allies.

In particular, the farewell amid political differences over a cost-of-living crisis sweeping Britain is grim news for Johnson.

“The public rightly expects the government to be run properly, competently and seriously,” said the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

“I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that’s why I’m resigning,” Sunak wrote to Johnson.

Javid preceded Sunak at the Treasury Department before quitting with Johnson over a previous bust.

He wrote that the prime minister’s survival in last month’s no-confidence vote gave him an opportunity to show “humility, grasp and new direction”.

“However, I regret to say that I realize that this situation will not change under your leadership – and that is why you have lost my confidence as well.”

– ‘To collapse’ –

Johnson has been embroiled in various scandals, most notably the so-called ‘Partygate’ affair, in which he was fined by police for breaching his own coronavirus lockdown restrictions at Downing Street.

The 58-year-old Prime Minister is still facing a parliamentary inquiry into whether he lied to MPs about the lockdown-violating parties at Downing Street.

Pincher’s departure from the Office of the Whips – charged with enforcing party discipline and standards – was another allegation of sexual misconduct by Tories in recent months.

Conservative MP Neil Parish resigned in April after he was caught watching pornography on his mobile phone in the House of Commons.

This led to a by-election in his previously secure seat, which the party lost in a historic victory for the opposition Liberal Democrats.

Labour, the main opposition party, defeated the Conservatives in another by-election in northern England on the same day, sparked by the conviction of their Tory MP on sexual assault charges.

The controversy comes as Britain grapples with a deepening cost-of-living crisis and a summer of strikes by various unions over wages and working conditions.

Labor leader Keir Starmer said it was “clear that this government is now collapsing”.

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