Britain falls into a government crisis. Amidst sharp criticism of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Health Minister Sajid Javid have resigned. In his letter of resignation published on Tuesday evening, Javid wrote that he had lost confidence in the head of government.
Under Johnson’s leadership, the Conservative Party is not viewed by the public as value-led, nor does it serve the national interest. Even after the party-internal vote of no confidence, which Johnson narrowly won recently, the prime minister did not initiate a change of course. “It is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership,” Javid wrote.
Finance Minister Sunak stressed that he had always been loyal to Johnson. “But the public rightly expects the government to act correctly, competently and seriously.” The broadcaster Sky News quoted an unnamed member of the government as saying that Johnson was now almost impossible to keep in office.
The pressure on the prime minister had recently increased significantly because of the scandal surrounding sexual harassment by a leading Tory faction member. The Prime Minister apologized in the evening and said the appointment of Chris Pincher to the so-called vice-whip was a mistake. But he didn’t lie in the case, Johnson emphasized on the BBC. The Whips – literally whips in German – are intended to ensure faction discipline. Johnson’s spokesman previously admitted that the prime minister had been briefed on allegations against Conservative party colleague Chris Pincher back in 2019. So far it has been said that Johnson was not aware of any specific allegations.
Johnson’s appearance in the parliamentary committee is planned for Wednesday (4:00 p.m. CEST). The traditional questioning before the so-called Liaison Committee in the House of Commons is one of the highlights of the year in the British Parliament. On no other occasion does the head of government have so few opportunities to avoid uncomfortable questions. The event is therefore also referred to as “grilling”.