JUNE 9, 2023
Former British prime minister Boris Johnson on Friday (June 9) resigned as Member of the Parliament. He has accused parliamentary probe into ‘partygate’ of driving him out.
Johnson, 58, said he was stepping down with immediate effect “triggering an immediate by-election” in his marginal seat, which heaps political pressure on his successor Rishi Sunak.
Johnson had been sparring with a parliamentary inquiry investigating if he misled parliament when he said all Covid rules were followed. The privileges committee of the parliament had the power to recommend Johnson from the parliament for more than 10 days if it found that he indeed misled the parliament recklessly or deliberately.
Johnson said he had received a letter from the “privileges committee making it clear – much to my amazement – that they are determined to use the proceedings against me to drive me out of parliament”.
“I am being forced out by a tiny handful of people, with no evidence to back up their assertions, and without approval even of Conservative party members let alone the wider electorate,” Johnson said in a statement.
“It is very sad to be leaving parliament – at least for now – but above all I am bewildered and appalled that I can be forced out.”
Johnson’s tenure was cut short in part due to anger against him within his own Conservative Party as well as across the country over the parties in his Downing Street office and residence. When the parties took place, much of Britain was under strict Covid lockdown. The parties had flouted Covid norms.
Johnson has accused the committee of being the “very definition of a kangaroo court”.
“Most members of the committee – especially the chair – had already expressed deeply prejudicial remarks about my guilt before they had even seen the evidence,” he said.
“In retrospect it was naive and trusting of me to think that these proceedings could be remotely useful or fair.”
The announcement from Johnson came just hours after Johnson rewarded, controversially, his closest Brexit allies and officials implicated in “partygate” saga in his PM resignation honours list.
Johnson’s former culture secretary Nadine Dorries announced at the same time that she was quitting as an MP with immediate effect.
The 2019 victory
Johnson had led the Conservative Party to a significant 80-seat majority in 2019 general elections. He had fought the election on a promise to “get Brexit done”.
However, Johnson’s handling of the Covid pandemic proved to be his undoing. ‘Partygate’ along with a series of other scandals led to rebellion from ministers in July last year. In September, Johnson quit from the prime ministerial post.
Courtesy/Source: WION / PTI