Britain’s finance and health ministers resigned yesterday in what appeared to be the final blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson after he tried to apologize for his latest scandal.
The resignations came as Johnson apologized for making a mistake by failing to recognize that a former minister in charge of Conservative party discipline in parliament was unfit for a government job after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him.
The Labor Party has enjoyed a small but steady lead over the Conservative Party in the UK polls for the past seven months. Its average values ranged from only 3 to as much as 11 per cent.
Sir Keir Starmer’s party first came out on top in the polls in early December, around the time stories began to emerge of Downing Street partying during the tightest of pandemic lockdowns. Until then, Labor had for two years consistently fallen behind the ruling Conservatives in terms of support.
According to average data from the latest national polls, as of July 5, support for the Labor Party was 39 per cent, and that for the Conservatives – was 33 per cent. The Greens have 6 per cent. A year ago, support for the Tories averaged 41 per cent, for Labor – 33 per cent, for the Liberal Democrats – 9 per cent, and for the Greens – 5 per cent.
The next regular election is more than two years away – the earliest possible date is January 23, 2025 – so there is still a lot of time until then, and a lot can change. But polls shape and reflect prevailing attitudes in the country, which in turn affects the state of mind of politicians and party members. The news for the Conservatives is equally unpleasant regarding Boris Johnson’s personal approval rating. It has been at its lowest level since January.
Currently, his disapproval of him is 51 per cent, according to data from the Yugav sociological company. Johnson has had a negative approval rating almost the entire time he has been prime minister, except for a few weeks in the spring of 2020 at the start of the pandemic.
Boris Johnson appoints Nadim Zahawi as UK Chancellor of the Exchequer
Boris Johnson appointed Nadim Zahawi as finance minister to replace Rishi Sunak. Zahawi was the Minister of Education until now. Zahawi will be replaced by Michelle Donnellan, deputy education minister responsible for universities.
According to Whitehall sources quoted by DPA, resigned Health Secretary Sajid Javid will be replaced by Steve Barkley.
Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid resigned, possibly in a coordinated letter to the prime minister attacking his ability to lead a standards-compliant administration.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed regret for Javid’s decision and promised that the government would continue to take care of the health sector. In a short letter to Javid, Johnson expressed regret for his departure and praised him for his work in the office, particularly in the fight against COVID-19, as well as on other issues in the health system.
Both Sunak and Javid have previously publicly supported Johnson during the months-simmering scandal over his administration’s conduct and reports of illegal parties in his Downing Street office and residence when the country was in lockdown due to Covid-19.
Sunak, who is reported to have clashed with the prime minister’s overspending, said: “I did not take the decision to step down as minister lightly when the world is suffering from the economic consequences of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and other serious challenges.”
However, society rightly expects the government to be run properly, competently and seriously, he said. He said he realizes this may be his last ministerial job, but he believes these standards are worth fighting for, and that is why he is resigning. “In preparation for our proposed joint speech on the economy next week, it has become clear to me that our approaches are fundamentally different,” Sunak tweeted.
Javid, for his part, said many lawmakers and the public had lost confidence in Johnson’s ability to govern the country in the national interest. “However, I regret to say that it is clear to me that the situation will not change under your leadership – and therefore, you have lost my confidence,” Javid said in his letter to Johnson.
Amid these resignations, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she was “100% behind the prime minister,” the BBC reported. She has been a part of Johnson’s tough image on Ukraine, which is perceived as overkill.
At the same time, the deputy leader of the British Conservative Party, Bim Afolami, announced on a television show that he was resigning after previously announcing that he was withdrawing his support from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the agencies reported.
“After the latest allegations about the former deputy head of discipline in the parliamentary group, and after other events that have happened in recent weeks, I simply no longer think that the prime minister can have both my support and the support of the party, and the country as a whole”, said Afolami in a program on the air of “Talk TV”. “I think for that reason he should resign.”
Afolami then confirmed that he was resigning, saying that he could no longer remain in office while Boris Johnson remained Prime Minister. “I can no longer carry out my duties under the current prime minister – but I say that with regret because I think this government has done some pretty good things,” said the now former Tory deputy leader.
The leader of Britain’s opposition Labor Party, Keir Starmer, said he would welcome a possible snap election and added that Britain needed a new government after Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost two key ministers to the resignations last night, Reuters reported.
Asked by reporters if he would support an early general election if called in the next two weeks, Starmer said, “Yes. Britain needs a new start. We need a new government; the current one is falling apart.”