Boris Johnson resigns from parliament citing ‘witch hunt’
Johnson’s tenure as Prime Minister was cut short, partially due to public outrage within his own party and across the UK regarding Covid lockdown parties
Boris Johnson (Photo: Getty Images)
Former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, made a sudden decision to resign as a member of parliament on Friday (09).
His departure came as a strong and passionate protest against the lawmakers who were conducting an investigation into his conduct, reigniting deep divisions within the ruling Conservative Party just before the anticipated general election next year.
Johnson had been the subject of scrutiny by a parliamentary inquiry that aimed to determine whether he had provided misleading information to the House of Commons regarding parties held in Downing Street that violated Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
Upon receiving a confidential letter from the committee, Johnson publicly accused the investigating lawmakers of resembling a “kangaroo court” and having a clear intention to bring an end to his political career.
Accusing the committee of mounting a “political hit job”, Johnson said in a statement: “I am being forced out by a tiny handful of people, with no evidence to back up their assertions.”
The privileges committee of Parliament, which serves as the primary disciplinary body for lawmakers, held the authority to recommend the suspension of Johnson from his parliamentary duties.
In the event that the suspension lasted longer than 10 days, voters in his constituency could have demanded he stood for re-election to continue as their representative.
While departing from parliament, Johnson alluded to the possibility of a return to politics, indicating that his departure was temporary.
However, this resignation may mark the conclusion of his 22-year political career, during which he progressed from a member of parliament to the mayor of London, ultimately gaining prominence and influencing the outcome of the 2016 European Union referendum in favour of Brexit.
Johnson’s tenure as Prime Minister was cut short, partially due to public outrage within his own party and across the UK regarding lockdown parties held in his Downing Street office and residence, which violated Covid-19 restrictions.
Despite these allegations, Johnson maintained that the privileges committee had not found “a shred of evidence” against him.
“I am not alone in thinking that a witch hunt is underway to take revenge for Brexit and ultimately to reverse the 2016 referendum result,” he said. “My removal is the necessary first step, and I believe there has been a concerted attempt to bring it about.”
The investigation is being led by a prominent lawmaker from the Labour Party, serving as the chair of the committee. However, the majority of the lawmakers on the committee are affiliated with the Conservative Party.
The committee has announced that it will convene on Monday to bring its inquiry to a close and intends to release its report in the near future.
A spokesperson for the committee expressed disapproval of Johnson’s resignation statement, stating that it had cast doubt on the integrity of parliament as a whole.
Attack on Sunak
As a consequence of Johnson’s resignation, a by-election will be initiated for his constituency in west London.
This marks the second by-election in a single day for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, as Nadine Dorries, an ally of Johnson, also declared her intention to step down from her position.
Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party, said: “The British public are sick to the back teeth of this never-ending Tory soap opera played out at their expense.”
Nearly four years ago, Johnson assumed power with the pledge to successfully execute Brexit and alleviate the contentious divisions that arose after the 2016 referendum.
Despite apprehensions expressed by certain fellow Conservatives about his narcissism, lack of attention to detail, and a reputation for dishonesty, Johnson brushed off these concerns and forged ahead.
While some Conservatives ardently endorsed the former journalist, others, despite their reservations, rallied behind him because he was able to appeal to parts of the electorate that usually rejected their party.
This was evident during the December 2019 election, where Johnson’s ability to resonate with a broader range of voters became apparent.
However, the confrontational and frequently chaotic governing style of his administration, along with a series of scandals, gradually eroded the support of many of his fellow lawmakers.
Recent opinion polls indicate that Johnson’s popularity among the general public has significantly diminished.
In his resignation statement on Friday, Johnson utilised the opportunity to launch a critique of Sunak’s premiership, holding him partially responsible for the downfall of his government.
Despite having collaborated closely during the pandemic, a feud emerged between the two individuals after Sunak resigned as finance minister last summer in protest against Johnson’s leadership.
“When I left office last year the government was only a handful of points behind in the polls. That gap has now massively widened,” he said.
“Our party needs urgently to recapture its sense of momentum and its belief in what this country can do.”