“Johnson fights for his survival”, headlined the Times on Thursday, summing up the feeling of the British press after what the Daily Telegraph described as a government “mutiny”, which resulted in the departure of several dozen ministers in two days. and advisers.
The waltz of resignations began Tuesday evening when, without warning, the ministers of Health Sajid Javid and Finance Rishi Sunak slammed the door, followed by other members of the government, of lower rank.
Wednesday evening, the number of departures amounted to forty, including the minister responsible for Wales Simon Hart.
Stuck in repeated scandals, accused of repeated lies, Boris Johnson brushed aside calls for resignation all day long, including from his faithful, dismissing in the evening his minister Michael Gove, in charge of territorial rebalancing, who in the morning had also called to leave.
According to British media, several senior ministers have asked him to resign as the situation has become untenable. Among the names cited, Interior Minister Priti Patel and Nadhim Zahawi, less than 24 hours after his appointment as Minister of Finance.
To ministers and MPs, Boris Johnson replied that he wanted to stay to devote himself “to the extremely important problems” facing the country, according to the press.
“We will continue with the government of this country”, assured the Prime Minister in the afternoon in front of the heads of the parliamentary committees, a few moments after having affirmed that he was having a “formidable” week.
Combative, Boris Johnson judged that he would not be “responsible” to leave power in the current context, between purchasing power crisis and war in Ukraine.
A little earlier, during the weekly question session in front of the deputies, punctuated by laughter and mockery, he had affirmed that the “colossal mandate” which had been entrusted to him by the voters in 2019 conferred on him the duty to “continue” .
Opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer blasted a “pathetic spectacle” at the end of his reign, while Scottish nationalist SNP leader in the House of Commons Ian Blackford demanded a snap election. An idea that Boris Johnson rejected out of hand.
– “Bye Boris” –
The resigning ministers had harsh words for the head of government, questioning his honesty.
In front of the deputies, Sajid Javid detailed the reasons for his departure, convinced that Boris Johnson would not change: “That’s enough”, he launched, before some deputies resumed a mocking “bye Boris” launched by the One. Two.
The resignation of Mr Javid and that of his finance colleague was announced on Tuesday evening when Boris Johnson had just issued an apology after a new scandal.
Mr. Johnson admitted having made a “mistake” in appointing Chris Pincher to his government in February, deputy chief “whip” in charge of parliamentary discipline for Conservative MPs. He resigned last week after being accused of touching two men.
After claiming the opposite, Downing Street admitted on Tuesday that the Prime Minister had been informed as early as 2019 of old accusations against Mr Pincher, but that he had “forgotten” them.
According to a Savanta ComRes poll published on Wednesday, 72% of Britons believe the Prime Minister should resign.
Already significantly weakened by the scandal of illegal parties held in Downing Street during the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Johnson survived a vote of no confidence from his own camp a few weeks ago.
But according to the British press, behind the scenes, the anti-Johnson are maneuvering to allow a new vote quickly, by changing the current rule which protects the head of government for another eleven months.
The election of the executive office of the powerful “Committee 1922”, competent to settle the question, must be held on Monday.