Resignations continue in the British government. Wednesday, July 6, the day after the resounding departures of the ministers of health and finance, the secretary of state responsible for children and the family, the minister responsible for school standards and the assistant to the secretary of state for transport announced their departure from the government, further weakening Prime Minister Boris Johnson, entangled in a wave of scandals.
The Secretary of State for Children and Families, Will Quince, judged that he had “no choice”, after having repeated “in good faith” in the media elements provided by the services of the prime minister “which turned out to be inaccurate”. The assistant to the Secretary of State for Transport, Laura Trott, for her part, resigned, judging that confidence was “lost”. School standards minister Robin Walker said his decision stemmed from his regret that the Conservative Party had “been diverted from its primary mission by ongoing questions about its leadership team”.
Tuesday evening, the ministers of health, Sajid Javid, and finance, Rishi Sunak, announced their resignation a few minutes apart, tired of the repeated scandals that have shaken the government for months.
These resignations come as the Prime Minister has just apologized for having appointed Chris Pincher to his government in February, deputy chief whip in charge of parliamentary discipline for Conservative MPs. The latter was accused of touching several men, information which Downing Street had known since 2019 but which the Prime Minister said he had “forgotten”, by naming him.
Former Brexit Secretary David Frost, who also resigned in December, said their departures were justified and called on Boris Johnson to resign before the situation worsened. Ministers loyal to him reaffirmed their support, such as Nadine Dorries, in charge of culture. It is sometimes “easy to walk away”, but “much more difficult” to implement reforms for the country, Nadhim Zahawi said on SkyNews on Wednesday.
“Summer of Discontent”
Weakened but determined to stay, Boris Johnson will defend his post at noon in Parliament (1 p.m. in Paris) during the weekly session of questions to the Prime Minister, which promises to be electric. Already considerably weakened by the Downing Street party scandal during the pandemic, he had, however, survived a vote of no confidence from his own camp a few weeks ago.
The economic context is, moreover, particularly delicate, with inflation at its highest for forty years, at 9.1% in May over twelve months. After a historic strike by railway workers at the end of June, the unions have already called for a “summer of discontent” and several professions – lawyers, health workers, teachers – have called for social movements.
According to a poll by the YouGov institute on Tuesday evening, 69% of British voters believe that Boris Johnson should resign. More than half (54%) of Conservative voters in 2019 think the Prime Minister should step down.