Two of the United Kingdom’s most senior minister have resigned from the cabinet in the latest blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership. The resignation came as Johnson was apologizing for what he said was a mistake and for not realizing that a former minister in charge of pastoral care was unsuitable for a job in government after complaints of sexual misconduct were made against him. On Tuesday, UK Finance minister Rishi Sunak and health minister Sajid Javid sent their respective resignation letters to Johnson which both aimed at his “ability to run an administration that adhered to standards.” The resignations came as Johnson was apologising for appointing a lawmaker to a role involved in offering pastoral care to his party, even after being briefed that the politician had been the subject of complaints about sexual misconduct.
In a move to showcase his power, Prime Minister Johnson quickly appointed former businessman and current education minister, Nadhim Zahawi, as his new finance minister. Earlier four other lawmakers quit junior government roles while a trade envoy stood down and a vice-chairman of the Conservative Party resigned his post on live television. The resignations are not very unexpected or surprising as the resignations come after months of scandals and missteps, with Johnson, criticism over a damning report into parties at his downing street residence and office that broke strict Covid-19 lockdowns and saw him fined by police.
As many economists have also suggested that “the country is now heading for a sharp slowdown or possibly a recession.” There have been many other policy U-turns as well, an ill-fated defence of other lawmakers who broke lobbying rules and he has also come under fire for not doing enough to tackle a cost-of-living crisis, with many locals struggling to make the ends meet. Both the ministers have supported Johnson earlier, but in their letter, they wrote “enough is enough”.
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Sunak, the finance minister who has been caught up in private arguments with the Prime Minister before said, “For me to step down as Chancellor (of the Exchequer) while the world is suffering the economic consequences of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and other serious challenges is a decision that I have not taken lightly.” He added, the public rightly expect the government to be conducted properly, competently, and seriously,” he added. “I recognize this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning.” Javid, the health minister said, “It is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership – and you have therefore lost my confidence too,” The resignations came right after the Prime Minister went on television to apologies for appointing lawmaker Christopher Pincher to a role involved in offering pastoral care in the Conservative Party, in his apology in which he stated –
“I apologies to everyone who’s been badly affected by it,” Johnson told broadcasters. “I just want to make absolutely clear that there’s no place in this government for anybody who is predatory or who abuses their position of power.”
The opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer said “those who had backed Johnson were complicit in how he had performed his job”