2 UK cabinet ministers, 4 ministerial aides & 1 Party vice chair quit within 6 hours as scandal hits Boris Johnson's govt

Who's next?

Sulaiman Daud | July 06, 2022, 11:25 AM

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing what may be the most serious threat to his government to date after two of his key Cabinet ministers tendered their resignations.

At around 2am on July 6 (Singapore time), Secretary for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid (equivalent to Singapore's Health Minister) fired the metaphorical starter pistol by announcing his resignation on Twitter.

Mere minutes later, Chancellor Rishi Sunak (equivalent to Singapore's Finance Minister) announced his resignation.

Former Defence junior minister and Trade Envoy Andrew Murrison also resigned from his post.

However, several other "heavyweight" cabinet ministers like Home Secretary Priti Patel and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss are expected to stay on, according to The Guardian.

Following the resignations of these two key cabinet members, four Conservative parliamentary private secretaries quit their roles as well.

In between their resignations, the Vice Chair of the Conservative Party Bim Afolami announced his resignation live on TV after saying Johnson should step down as he has lost support of the Party, and even the country.

By-election defeats

Although Johnson's Conservative Party enjoys a considerable majority in the House of Commons (UK's lower house of Parliament), two recent by-election defeats have soured the party's mood.

One seat was in the traditional Conservative stronghold of Tiverton & Honiton, which saw its sizeable 24,000 vote majority overturned and lost to the Liberal Democrats. The other was in Wakefield, one of the Conservative's gains in the 2019 general election, and lost to Labour.

Both seats were vacated as a result of scandal, with one Conservative Member of Parliament having been convicted of sexual assault of a 15-year-old, and the other resigning after being caught watching pornography in Parliament.

Johnson then faced a vote of confidence in Parliament, which he won.

A recent snap poll conducted by British market research firm YouGov after Sunak's resignation revealed that most Conservative voters -- and about two-thirds of British citizens -- think that Johnson should resign as prime minister. This marks the first time that more Conservative voters want him to go than stay.

The Pincher Affair

But it was perhaps the backlash from yet another scandal that prompted the Sunak and Javid resignations.

Chris Pincher, a former Foreign Office minister, and a Conservative MP, was the subject of a complaint in 2019 alleging that he had groped two men at a private club in London, according to the BBC.

Despite being aware of the complaint, Johnson later appointed Pincher a deputy chief whip, whose role is to enforce discipline among the MPs.

After news of the Pincher case broke in early July, members of Johnson's government claimed that the prime minister was not aware of "specific allegations" when Pincher was given the role.

However, Downing Street later admitted that Johnson was previously aware of "reports and speculation."

Javid may have been alluding to the Pincher affair in his resignation letter when he said that the British public expect "integrity" from their government.

Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer of the Labour Party, said that "it's clear" Johnson's government is "collapsing", but changing "one man" won't fix the problem.

"Only a real change of government can give Britain the fresh start it needs," he said, according to The Guardian.

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Top image from National Newspaper Facebook page.