London Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is resigning from Parliament with immediate effect. The Tory politician is thus reacting to an investigative report by the so-called Privileges Committee, in which he is apparently accused of violating Parliament for violations of the Corona rules at 10 Downing Street, the seat of government. The report has not yet been published but was made available to Johnson in advance.
Johnson’s resignation forestalls a possible temporary suspension from parliament. He used the opportunity for a sharp reckoning with the committee of inquiry: “I’ve been a member of parliament since 2001. I take my responsibilities seriously. I have not lied and I believe the committee knows that in their hearts,” the 58-year-old wrote. The members of the investigative committee “deliberately chose to ignore the truth because finding out the truth was not their goal from the start.” The goal from the start was to find him guilty regardless of the facts.
Johnson had claimed to the House of Commons that he was not aware of any violations of the corona rules at the seat of government during the pandemic. However, numerous photos of parties at 10 Downing Street during the lockdown, in which the then Prime Minister can also be seen, had cast doubt on his statements, even among his Conservative party friends. Johnson was also fined by London police for attending his birthday party. The affair, which became known as “Partygate”, led to Johnson’s resignation as prime minister last summer.
His resignation is now leading to a by-election in his constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, north-west London. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s ruling Conservatives only have a narrow majority of a good 7,000 votes there. The opposition Labor Party, which is around 14 percentage points ahead of the Tories in the nationwide polls, is therefore likely to try to win this seat in a targeted manner. Johnson confidant Nadine Dorries resigned from her seat of the House of Commons on Friday, leading to another by-election.
Johnson also used his retirement to attack the policies of his successor, Sunak. “Why have we so passively abandoned the prospect of a free trade deal with the US?” he wrote, after Sunak had just returned from Washington with no free trade agreement in hand. “We must implement the 2019 election campaign program which was supported by 14 million people. We should remember that more than 17 million voted for Brexit,” the ex-PM wrote.
His party shouldn’t be afraid of being a truly conservative government. He was very sad to leave Parliament – “at least for the moment”. This suggests that Johnson is keeping the option open to return to active politics.
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