After 2 Resignations, Boris Johnson May Be Doomed

Latest scandal involves misconduct allegations against key member of prime minister's team
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 5, 2022 12:56 PM CDT
2 Resignations Are Very Bad News for Boris Johnson
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at the start of a cabinet meeting, in Downing Street, London, Tuesday, July 5, 2022.   (Justin Tallis/Pool Photo via AP)

Two of Britain’s most senior Cabinet ministers have quit, a move that could spell the end of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership after months of scandals, per the AP. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid resigned within minutes of each other. "I can no longer continue in good conscience," said Javid. "The public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently, and seriously," said Sunak. "I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning." Most recently, Johnson has been hit by allegations he failed to come clean about a lawmaker who was appointed to a senior position despite claims of sexual misconduct.

Earlier Tuesday, a former top British civil servant said Johnson’s office wasn’t telling the truth in regard to that controversy. Johnson has faced pressure to explain what he knew about previous misconduct allegations against lawmaker Chris Pincher, who resigned as deputy chief whip Thursday amid complaints that he groped two men at a private club. The government’s explanation has shifted repeatedly over the past five days. Ministers initially said Johnson was not aware of any allegations when he promoted Pincher to the post in February.

On Monday, a spokesman said Johnson knew of sexual misconduct allegations that were "either resolved or did not progress to a formal complaint." That account did not sit well with Simon McDonald, the most senior civil servant at the UK Foreign Office from 2015 to 2020. In a highly unusual move, he said Tuesday that the prime minister’s office still wasn't telling the truth. McDonald said in a letter to the parliamentary commissioner for standards that he received complaints about Pincher’s behavior in the summer of 2019, shortly after Pincher became a Foreign Office minister. An investigation upheld the complaint, and Pincher apologized for his actions, McDonald said.

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In his letter, McDonald disputed that Johnson was unaware of the allegations or that the complaints were dismissed. "The original No. 10 line is not true, and the modification is still not accurate," McDonald wrote. "Mr. Johnson was briefed in person about the initiation and outcome of the investigation." Hours after McDonald's comments came out, Johnson's office changed its story again, saying the prime minister forgot he was told that Pincher was the subject of an official complaint. The office confirmed Johnson was briefed on the complaint by Foreign Office officials in 2019, a “number of months” after it took place. His office said it took some time to establish the briefing took place.

(More Boris Johnson stories.)

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