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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.

“You don’t go into this job to have an easy life,” Zahawi told Sky News on Wednesday.

“Sometimes it’s easy to walk away, but actually it’s much harder to deliver for the country,” he added.

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.

“I and much of the party are now fully committed that he will be gone by the summer break (from July 22nd): the sooner the better.”

The resignations dominated the front pages of British newspapers. The Times headlined “Johnson on the brink,” while the conservative tabloid Daily Mail was more colorful: “Can even Boris the Greased Piglet wriggle out of this?”

Former Loyalist and Brexit frontrunner David Frost, influential among Tory grassroots members, wrote in the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday that “it’s time to go”.

“Repeating the same mistakes and refusing to acknowledge the need for change means this Prime Minister will never get better.”

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.

Sunak’s departure in particular amid political disagreements over a cost of living crisis in the UK 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, prompted by their Tory MP’s sexual assault conviction.

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