It is fitting that Boris Johnson’s announcement that he will step down as British Prime Minister was chaotic, defiant and ruthless, coming at the end of a week of further revelations of Tory disgrace, writes Adri Kotzé in London.
Like his tenure as Prime Minister, it was deaf and disrespectful. The only thing he cares about is Boris Johnson. And power.
As Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s former adviser, who probably knows the Prime Minister’s political instincts and style best, said of him: Blames everyone else , believes he is the real victim and plots a betrayal for future Tory conferences and newspaper columns.
In the end there was one scandal and one cover-up too many. When it was revealed he had lied to his own MPs about what he knew about sex abuse allegations against MP Chris Pincher in 2019 before appointing him Deputy Whip nominee, MPs resigned in droves. Last week, a drunk pincher allegedly molested two men at a private club.
In Johnson’s speech yesterday, in which he sometimes sounded more like accepting an award than He blamed the “herd instinct” of Westminster Conservatives for his intention to resign, saying it was an “eccentric” decision.
“When the herd moves, moves yourself.” he said.
“These are the breaks.”
Everything indicated that he was convinced he could survive and perhaps even the prodigal son will be so welcomed again. There was no hint of humility or apology.
Johnson never thought that rules applied to him. He shrugged off revelations about lockdown parties at Downing Street and the scandal of using Tory donations to fund his interior design. Even when he was fined for the outlaw parties, the war in Ukraine detracted from his predicament.
Ultimately, however, his vacillation led Tory to fear that Johnson to do so would be an albatross in the upcoming elections. Veteran political journalist Andrew Marr writes in the New Statesman that “conservative backbenchers have it to their molar teeth.”
“I’ve never heard that before such anger – not against Tony Blair after the Iraq war, not against Margaret Thatcher when it failed. No 10’s lies about Pincher’s promotion after sexual misconduct allegations were leveled against him really outraged MPs who had until then been reluctantly standing by the PM.”
So concerned are some Tories that Johnson will seek entrenchment that in 1922 former Tory Prime Minister John Major urged the influential Conservative Committee not to place Johnson as acting leader at No. 10 to leave.
Columnist Matthew Parris emphasized in the Timesthat Johnson bought a few more months ago, but hasn’t resigned yet. The Mirror reported that Johnson wants to delay his retirement because he wants to host his own lavish post-lockdown wedding reception at Checkers.
Read more about this as well as more News and analysis in this week’s Vrye Weekblad
This week’s Vrye Weekblad
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