- BBC News World
It took more than 50 resignations from his government for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to hear the voices calling for his resignation.
Johnson was plunged into a crisis with unpredictable consequences that led to a wave of resignations by ministers and other top officials who say they have lost their trust in the prime minister to run the country.
The shock began on Tuesday when, from a sexual harassment scandal in which he was involved Chris Pincher -a Conservative parliamentarian close to Johnson- the finance ministers, Rishi Sunakand Health, Sajid Javidtwo executive heavyweights, tendered their resignation.
Sunak argued that citizens expect the government to be run in a “proper, competent and serious” way; while Javid claimed that the Johnson administration was not “acting in the national interest”.
From there, and within 24 hours, more than 40 deputy ministers and other senior officials submitted their resignations. By Thursday morning, the number had already reached 50 and was still rising.
After initially resisting the possibility of leaving office, Johnson announced Thursday afternoon local time that he would step down as leader of the Conservative Party, but would remain in his post until a new Conservative leader is chosen to take the reins of the country.
The president had made clear his willingness to remain in office during a parliamentary session on Wednesday.
The calls for him to resign came just a month after the prime minister faced a motion of censure in Parliament in ita that 41% of legislators from his own party voted against the.
That attempt to remove him took place after photos and evidence of meetings and celebrations at the seat of government came to light while the rest of the country was confined by the restrictions imposed by Johnson’s own executive during the pandemic.
BBC Mundo answers the key questions about the crisis that collapsed the government of Boris Johnson.
1. The origin of the crisis
On June 30, the British newspaper The Sun published that the then deputy head of the Conservative Party caucus in Parliament, Chris Pincher had groped two men in a private club in London.
Pincher, who had been appointed to that position by Johnson in February of this year in the midst of an Executive reshuffle, resigned immediately.
Within days, the British media published information about at least six other cases of alleged sexual misconduct by Pincher that have occurred in recent years.
Pincher, who was suspended by the Conservative Party, has apologized and said that cooperate fully with investigations into your conduct and that you are looking for “professional medical support”.
2. How was Boris Johnson involved?
Although the British prime minister is not the one who has engaged in sexual misconduct, the Pincher scandal puts him in a difficult position because his good judgment is being questioned, as well as the transparency with which the government handled the case.
On July 1, the government office told the press that Johnson doesn’t I knew that there were accusations against Pincher before his appointment.
The government spokesman said the prime minister was not aware of “specific allegations” about Pincher.
That was the same line that several members of the cabinet maintained in the following days.
However, on July 4, the president’s spokesman said that Johnson was aware of “allegations that were resolved or did not progress to the grievance phase” and that it was not considered appropriate to stop Pincher’s appointment due to “unsubstantiated allegations.” .
That same afternoon BBC revealed that Johnson had been informed of a formal complaint on Pincher’s “inappropriate behavior”while he worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 2019-2020.
This complaint led to a disciplinary process that confirmed that inappropriate behavior did occur.
Later, in an interview with the BBC, Johnson said: “There was a complaint that was brought to me specifically… it was a long time ago and it was brought to me orally. But that’s no excuse, I should have acted on it.” “.
The prime minister described as “a mistake” to have appointed Pincher, whom he said had behaved “very, very badly”, for which apologized to those affected.
3. Why was the prime minister questioned?
“This is all about one thing: the truth,” said BBC Politics editor Chris Mason, analyzing the ongoing crisis in the British government.
“Regardless of the tidal wave of details and accusations, it all comes down to whether people can believe what the number 10 (as the British Executive is colloquially called) says,” he added.
And it is that the Executive’s response to the Pincher scandal it was progressively changing as other elements have emerged, as happened during the so-called partygatethe case about the parties held at the seat of government during the coronavirus confinement, in which it was finally proven that even Johnson had attended some of these social gatherings.
“The questions are about what Boris Johnson knew and when he knew it. And the answers keep changing, often in reaction to uncomfortable facts that show his previous defense was rubbish, or at least not as candid as it could have been.” Manson explained.
Amid the wave of resignations, Johnson was questioned Wednesday in a committee of the House of Commons, the lower house of the British Parliament, and refused to comment on the resignations in his government.
When asked by one of the deputies if he would continue as prime minister “tomorrow”, Johnson replied: “Por course”.
Shortly thereafter he told the committee that he was having an “excellent” week and ruled out the call for early elections.
“The work of a prime minister, in difficult circumstances, when he has received from the polls a colossal mandate [por su amplia victoria electoral en 2019] is to move on, and that’s what I’m going to do,” Johnson said.
4. What will happen now?
Having survived the motion of censure against him just a month ago, Boris Johnson was protected from another such initiative for a year.
But the deterioration of political situation de Johnson was so quick after the Pincher scandal, first, and then with the resignations in his government, that he agreed to resign this Thursday.
He says he will remain prime minister until another leader is elected.
The post he is resigning from is as leader of the Conservative Party and there will now be a leadership contest in which around 100,000 party members will elect a new leader.
Later Johnson will submit his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II and she will ask the new party leader to form a new government.
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