The Conservative government stands divided and paralysed as more members resign and Boris Johnson’s attempts to save himself grow even more desperate.
Late yesterday evening, Attorney General Alex Chalk threw in the towel. His resignation letter stated: “To be in government is to accept the duty to argue for difficult or even unpopular policy positions where that serves the broader national interest. But it cannot extend to defending the indefensible.
“The cumulative effect of the Owen Paterson debacle, Partygate and now the handling of the former Deputy Chief Whip’s resignation, is that public confidence in the ability of Number 10 to uphold the standards of candour expected of a British Government has irretrievably broken down. I regret that I share that judgement.”
Then came a flurry of resignations, intended to fit in before Prime Minister’s Questions.
First to go this morning (July 6) was another Parliamentary Private Secretary, Laura Trott. Her resignation letter, posted on her Facebook account, said trust in politics was of the “upmost [sic] importance”, adding “but sadly in recent months this has been lost”.
Next was Children’s Minister Will Quince, who said he was left with “no choice” after 10 Downing Street sent him out to defend Johnson with “inaccurate” lines. He said: “I accepted and repeated assurances on Monday to the media which have now been found to be inaccurate.”
On Monday in media interviews, Quince said he had been given assurances that Johnson had not been aware of complaints against Chris Pincher. It later emerged this was not true.
Robin Walker, Minister for School Standards, quit saying the government has been “overshadowed by mistakes and questions about integrity”.
Lee Anderson, the Red Wall Tory who was ridiculed for saying it was possible to cook nutritious meals for 30p, quit at around 10.30am. On the Pinchergate lies, he stated: “I cannot look myself in the mirror and accept this… Integrity should always come first and sadly this has not been the case over the past few days.”
Also quitting were Treasury Minister John Glen and another PPS, Felicity Buchan.
Oh – and Justice Minister Victoria Atkins.
And key backbencher Robert Halfon has also announced that he has lost confidence in Johnson. In a letter, he said he was “previously against any leadership change… during Covid, a cost-of-living crisis and the war in Ukraine. However, after the events of the past few days and the resignation of Cabinet members, I feel that the public have been misled about the appointment of the former deputy chief whip [Chris Pincher].
“The parties at Number 10 Downing Street were bad enough but the appointment of this individual and the untruthful statement about what was known is unacceptable to me.”
Also withdrawing support were Chris Skidmore and Tom Hunt.
It’s over, isn’t it?
That’s what everyone’s saying.
New Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi was even challenged with those words when faced with the sudden resignations of two government members during a TV interview.
Johnson says he won’t go, as he prepares to face attacks from all sides during Prime Minister’s Questions.
But it’s not entirely up to him.
Would it be better for him to jump before he is pushed?
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