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Six key events that led to Boris Johnson’s resignation

  Boris Johnson’s resignation as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was sudden but not a surprise since many, including members of his...


 

Boris Johnson’s resignation as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was sudden but not a surprise since many, including members of his party, the Conservative Party, have called for his resignation at different times.


Johnson became Prime Minister on his promise to deliver Brexit, but in June, Johnson won a vote of confidence in the House of Commons, however, things have been going downhill for him since then and followed in the steps of former PM, Theresa May, who also resigned months after winning a vote of confidence.


Lack of focus

Johnson has been accused of a lack of focus and ideas in his cabinet, with a former adviser, Dominic Cummings, becoming his chief critic.


Questions about his philosophy, or lack of it, were also brought to the fore; a party member Jeremy Hunt, who is also a Member of Parliament, accused Johnson of lacking “integrity, competence, and vision”.


Owen Paterson affair

In October 2021, a 30-day suspension was recommended by a House of Commons committee for then-Conservative MP Owen Paterson on the ground that he broke House lobbying rules, in an attempt to benefit companies who paid him.


But the Conservatives, which was led by Johnson, voted to pause his suspension and set up a new committee to look into how the investigations against Paterson were carried out.


Paterson, however, resigned after an outcry, with Johnson admitting he had “crashed the car” in his handling of the case.


Cost of living crisis, tax rise

Although many of the reasons were out of his control, UK inflation rose sharply in 2022, and currently sits at 9.1%.


While the government took steps to stem the tide by cutting fuel duty, in April it increased tax, which also caused an increase in National Insurance.


Although the government said the tax rise would pay for health and social care, anyone earning more than £34,000 a year will still pay more.


“In the middle of the worst cost of living crisis for decades, the government chooses to increase taxes on working people,” Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer was quoted as saying in April.


Earlier in April, Johnson was fined for breaking lockdown rules after it was revealed that he attended a gathering on his birthday in June 2020.


He also apologised for going to a “bring your own booze” party in the Downing Street garden during the first lockdown.


More widely, the Metropolitan Police issued 126 fines to 83 people for breaking lockdown rules in Downing Street and Whitehall.


A report by a senior civil servant, Sue Gray, described a series of social events by political staff that also broke lockdown rules.

In December last year, Johnson told the Commons that “all guidance was followed completely in No 10”, but is now under investigation by a Commons committee over whether he knowingly misled Parliament.


Rishi Sunak, Sajid javid resign

On Tuesday, two key members of Johnson’s cabinet resigned their posts, with both saying they could no longer tolerate the culture of scandal that had stalked the then-PM for months.


Rishi Sunak quit as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Sajid Javid resigned as Health Secretary.


Their resignations were announced minutes after the Prime Minister apologised for appointing a senior Conservative, who quit last week after he was accused of drunkenly groping two men.


The Chris Pincher affair

On Wednesday, June 29, the MP Chris Pincher – at the time, the Conservative Deputy Chief Whip – went to a private members’ club in London. In his words, he “drank far too much” and “embarrassed himself”.


He was accused of groping two men, which led to a flurry of allegations, some dating back years.

 

This set off a chain of events that ended with the prime minister’s downfall.

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