Following a large number of resignations, especially of his leading ministers, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (58) today (July 7) has agreed to step down from his post. That should happen within hours. He will be in office as caretaker PM till the process of electing a new leader is completed by the time of the Conservative Party conference, scheduled for October.
There is a possibility that Britain could have its first Hindu and Indian origin Prime Minister in Rishi Sunak, who, according to bookies, has the best chance to the post. That would be an incredible feat, a prime Minister of Britain from a once colony. Apart from that, though, this will be a huge blow for Johnson, with whom Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had developed a great relationship and who had recently visited Gujarat, directly to Gautam Adani’s company headquarters.
Johnson had little elbow room to play, with two senior ministers resigning within minutes of each other on Tuesday (July 5). Finance minister Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary (minister) Sajid Javid resigned on July 5, expressing a lack of confidence in Johnson’s leadership. Both are seen as potential candidates who can replace Johnson.
The letters were also strongly worded. Sunak said the “public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously”, standards that he believes are worth fighting for. Javid said, “I am instinctively a team player but the British people also rightly expect integrity from their government.”
Johnson is facing the heat for his shifting claims on Chris Pincher, a lawmaker who stepped down as a government whip on July 30 following allegations of sexual misconduct. Last Thursday, the Sun newspaper broke the news that Pincher, a Conservative MP, resigned after a boozy evening at the Carlton private members club where he allegedly groped two men.
The Pincher scandal is the latest in a series of scandals Johnson has faced. After being criticised for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was accused in the ‘Partygate’ scandal which stemmed from parties and gatherings at Downing Street organised during the pandemic lockdowns.
Johnson was fined by the police in April for breaking the law and attending a birthday party during lockdown in June 2020.
The PM had survived a no-confidence vote last month when 41 percent of Tory MPs voted against him.