London: British Prime Ministry Boris Johnson was stubbornly resisting calls from his supporters to resign Thursday by axing a minister and former key friend.
Since late Tuesday, more than 40 ministers and aides, including three cabinet members, have resigned from the administration, and more have done so throughout the night.
Members of the Conservative leader’s cabinet told him it was time to go several times on Wednesday, according to local media.
He fired Communities Secretary Michael Gove in response. Gove apparently was the first to urge Johnson to step down for the benefit of the Tory party and the country, with a source close to Johnson calling Gove “a snake.”
Gove served as Boris Johnson’s right-hand man throughout the 2016 campaign for Britain’s Brexit vote, but in a stunning move, he decided to challenge him for the Conservative Party leadership that year and again in 2019.
The Sun said that Johnson had warned his coworkers that removing him from office would require them to “dip (their) hands in blood.”
Allies of the prime minister declared that he would “fight on,” and Johnson was in a “buoyant mood,” according to his parliamentary private secretary (PPS), James Duddridge, who spoke to Sky News.
But on Thursday morning, the scandal-plagued leader’s fragile situation was emphasised on the front pages of British newspapers.
Johnson made his “final stand,” according to the Daily Express, the Daily Telegraph referred to him as “mortally wounded,” and The Times said he was “fighting (for) his life.” All of these publications are typically fiercely pro-Conservative.
Johnson was criticised as “desperate and misguided” by The Guardian, which is on the opposing side of the political spectrum.
There is no working government.
Late on Tuesday, the abrupt resignations of the secretary of health and finance, Rishi Sunak, sparked off a series of others.
They resigned after Johnson expressed regret for having Chris Pincher, a prominent Conservative MP who was forced to resign after being accused of drunken groping two men, serve as deputy chief whip.
Days of contradictory explanations had followed Pincher’s departure, with Downing Street first insisting Johnson was unaware of the earlier accusations. However, this denial was later overturned when a former senior civil servant said he was informed of another event in 2019.
In response to having to defend what they saw to be more lies by Johnson, tory critics said that the Pincher scandal had sent many of them over the edge.
When Johnson returned to Downing Street on Wednesday after a protracted questioning by a parliamentary committee, members of his cabinet approached him.
Hardline interior minister Priti Patel and Sunak’s successor Nadhim Zahawi were reportedly part of the delegation, although Johnson’s PPS Duddridge later denying Zahawi’s presence.
Simon Hart, the Welsh Secretary, resigned from Johnson’s cabinet on Wednesday night.
A health minister and another PPS quit later that evening, bringing the total number of resignations from ministers and aides in the last little over 24 hours to at least 44, most of whom held more subordinate roles outside the cabinet.
According to Camilla Cavendish, a former leader of Downing Street’s policy unit, Britain no longer has “a functioning government.”
Late into the evening, Johnson continued to receive calls to leave.
Suella Braverman, the attorney general, told the television network ITV that while she wouldn’t step down, “the scales have shifted now in favour of declaring… it’s time to go.”
She said that she will participate in a leadership competition.
Johnson has been plagued by a scandalous culture for months, which includes lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street.
A parliamentary investigation will look into whether the prime minister misled to MPs about the disclosures after receiving a police fine for the “Partygate” incident, which resulted in the Covid lockdown being broken.
Johnson just avoided being defeated in a no-confidence vote among Conservative MPs a month ago, which typically barred him from being challenged for another 12 months.
However, the powerful “1922 Committee” of non-ministerial Tory MPs is apparently trying to amend the rules. On Wednesday, the executive committee of the committee announced that new members will be chosen next week.
Johnson will probably face a second vote of confidence because he has refused to quit.
Johnson emphasised the necessity for “stability government, loving one another as Conservatives, and getting on with our goals” in parliament on Wednesday.
Javid, though, pushed other ministers to step down in front of MPs.
He addressed a silent House of Commons, “The issue originates at the top, and I believe it is not going to change.
And as a result, it is our obligation as those in authority to bring about the necessary change.
After he finished speaking, the room erupted in cheers of “bye, Boris.”