LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s support quickly ebbed on Wednesday, a day after two harrowing resignations from his cabinet. The resignations kept coming, with some cabinet ministers telling the prime minister to resign, the BBC reported.
During the day, more than two dozen ministerial directors and aides-de-camp left their posts, following the example of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Rishi Sunakand Health Minister Sajid Javid, who resigned on Tuesday.
Mister. Johnson got a reprieve of sorts on Wednesday night when a Conservative Party committee suspended a vote on a rule change that would have allowed them to soon hold a vote of no confidence in Parliament and Mr Johnson.
But that was just a speck of decent news for the Prime Minister, who had a scathing reception in Parliament the previous Wednesday.
Mister. Johnson vowed to keep fighting and tried to shift focus to new government tax cuts which he said would help millions of struggling Britons. But in back rooms across Westminster, lawmakers were meeting to discuss ways to get Mr Johnson out, potentially within days.
In Parliament, Labor Party leader Keir Starmer made a scathing indictment of Mr Johnson’s role in the recent scandal involving allegations of sexual misconduct and excessive drinking by a Conservative lawmaker.
Mister. Johnson had promoted lawmaker Chris Pincher following previous allegations of misconduct. Ministers were sent out to deny what the prime minister knew about the allegations, but those claims quickly unraveled, a grimly familiar experience some cited when she resigned.
“Anyone who quits now after defending all of this has no integrity left,” Mr. Starmer said, pointing the finger at Mr. Johnson. “Isn’t that the first recorded case of the sinking ship fleeing the rats?”
Mister. Johnson, looking annoyed, again apologized for being Mr Pincher but insisted that as Prime Minister he was speaking on behalf of the British people. “The job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances, when he has been given a colossal mandate, is to keep going,” he explained.
The situation appeared to have changed for Mr Johnson on Wednesday afternoon when the BBC reported that Michael Gove, an influential cabinet minister, had told the Prime Minister it was time to go. Mister. Gove, the housing secretary, has long been considered a key leader in the Conservative Party and was noticeably absent from the front benches of Parliament during the tense exchange earlier in the day.
The channel also reported that members of Mr Johnson’s cabinet to resign, including Nadhim Zahawi, who was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer just yesterday and Priti Patel, the Home Secretary.
The charged back and forth in Parliament earlier in the day has seen the staggering decline of Mr Johnson’s fortune. Several Conservatives called for his resignation, including Gary Sambrook, a Birmingham lawmaker who is a senior official on an influential committee of Conservative backbenchers that controls a future no-confidence vote.
Mister. sonak and Mr. Javid resigned after Mr Johnson apologized for the recent scandal that engulfed his government. Several other officials have since followed, including Will Quince, the Secretary of State for Children and Families, who revealed Mr Johnson’s role in the scandal earlier in the week.
The departures broke a movement against Mr Johnson within his party that has been building against him for months, fueled by a torrent of embarrassing reports of Downing Street social gatherings flouting the Government’s own coronavirus lockdown rules.
Mister. Johnson had acted quickly to replace Mr Sunak and Mr Javid, who signaled he intended to stabilize the government and fight for his job. And he did his best to project a defiant image: when an ally asked him Tuesday night if he wanted to resign, he responded with the epithet “F-that,” according to the Times of London.
Still, the Prime Minister appeared to be in more political danger than at any time during his tumultuous three-year tenure at Downing Street.
A free-spirited journalist-turned-politician, Mr. Johnson has survived multiple investigations, a police fine, and… a vote of no confidence among lawmakers from his Conservative Party just last month – all related to the parties being held at Downing Street during the coronavirus lockdown.
But it was the latest outcry over Mr Johnson’s promotion of Mister. pinscher that seemed to Mr. Sunak and Mr. Javid, and set the stage for the final round of finger-pointing.
Last week Mr. Pincher resigned as the party’s deputy chief whip after admitting he was drunk at a private club in London where he allegedly groped two men. On Tuesday Downing Street admitted Mr Johnson was open about previous allegations against Mr Pincher in 2019 – something Mr Johnson’s office initially denied.
Mister. Starmer, the Labor leader, could face his own reckoning on Wednesday: Police in Durham, England, are about to release their findings of an inquiry into whether he broke the law by drinking a beer and Indian Food has attended dinners with other party officials during a pandemic lockdown. Mister. Starmer has vowed to resign if the police fine him.