Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom resigned from the position on 7th July, 2022 in the midst of another scandal. He was left with little choice as several high-profile members of his cabinet resigned in protest over misconduct allegations. Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher allegedly groped two guests at a private dinner. The Chief Whip is a political leader whose task is to enforce the whipping system, which aims to ensure that members of the party attend and vote according to the ideology of the party, not an individual ideology. The Prime Minister admitted that he was aware about these allegations, however took no action against this misconduct. These were not the first allegations of misconduct that were made against Pincher, which gave rise to the question – “why was he in the government in the first place?”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid stated that he could not "in good conscience" continue. Similarly, finance minister Rishi Sunak also resigned, saying that people "rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously.”
Boris Johnson rose to the position of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 2019 as the leader of the conservative party of the United Kingdom, however, since then he has been involved in numerous scandals which eventually led to his downfall.
The Covid-19 pandemic had disastrous consequences for populations all across the world. Governments of several countries were slow to respond, and had ineffective measures in place leading to immense loss of life. The UK was no exception. Johnson was absent from crucial meetings to discuss measures in the early stages of the pandemic. Eventually strict lockdowns and effective vaccine campaigns helped manage the situation, however Johnson’s inability to follow his own lockdown rules would land him in another scandal.
The infamous ‘party gate’ scandal came to light in January 2022. Photographs obtained by ITV news were released that showed Johnson raising a toast at a party at Downing Street in 2020, when the UK was put under lockdown for rising Covid-19 cases. He refused to resign for breaching his own lockdown rules but apologised for what he called a mistake. In 2021, Downing Street was responsible for holding more gatherings during the third lockdown across England, which was also a day before the funeral of Prince Philip, which is supposed to be observed as a a period of mourning. Subsequently, this landed Downing Street in problems with British Royalty, eventually they apologised to Queen Elizabeth II.
While not a scandal in strict sense, Brexit, another controversial decision in the UK is closely related to Johnson and his leadership. He became the face of the leave campaign, when Theresa May resigned in 2019, Johnson rose to power and promised to ‘get Brexit done.’ In January 2020, the UK formally departed from the EU, a historical event which would not have happened without Johnson’s involvement.
Johnson’s tenure was plagued with lies and a lack of ability to follow rules, even if the rules were set by his government. Prior to his role as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom he worked as a journalist at The Times newspaper and was fired for inventing a quote. In another instance, Johnson lost his senior position in the conservative party for lying about an affair. Moreover, he received a secret undiscovered loan to pay for the costs of renovation of his private quarters at Downing Street.
These scandals highlight the grim nature of his short, but impactful leadership. Lies, scandals and misconduct by both, himself and his cabinet eventually led to the downfall of his leadership. With his ratings plummeting in the UK, and no one to blame but himself, his loss of position and power was expected in the near future, as some would say – better late than never.
1. Martin, G. (2022, July 10). Commentary: Boris Johnson’s messy legacy of lies, scandals and Brexit. CNA. Retrieved July 11, 2022, from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/commentary/prime-minister-boris-johnson-resign-uk-politics-brexit-partygate-cabinet-2796506
2. McGee, A. C. B. L. (2022a, July 6). (Analysis) Boris Johnson is deep in another crisis. This time, it really could be game over. CNN. Retrieved July 11, 2022, from https://edition.cnn.com/2022/07/05/uk/boris-johnson-resignations-crisis-analysis-intl/index.html
3. McGee, A. C. B. L. (2022, July 7). How scandals of Boris Johnson’s own making brought him down. CNN. Retrieved July 11, 2022, from https://edition.cnn.com/2022/07/07/europe/boris-johnson-career-intl-cmd-gbr/index.html