University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

Boris Johnson in Turmoil as 75% of Voters Say He ‘Must Quit’

Maisie Levitt

ByMaisie Levitt

Mar 8, 2022

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately disruption has made this edition of The Badger a little different. Unavoidable circumstances meant that this edition was delayed. Consequently, some of these articles are a little older and we haven’t been able to get the newest stories to you this time. However, we think that it is fair that those who wrote great articles have them published, and these important stories are read by you.

Words by Connor Drescher, Staff Writer

Tory MPs have said that Boris Johnson must resign, if he is fined by the police for his actions during the ‘partygate’ scandal. This comes as a new Savanta ComRes survey, conducted for The Independent, found that 75% of voters believe Johnson should resign if found guilty. 

The PM has come under fire for both allowing and attending several parties at Downing Street during the coronavirus lockdown measures imposed by his own government over the last two years, in direct contravention of the law at the time. 

The Prime Minister is alleged to have attended at least six separate events over the course of the pandemic, all of which were in breach of legislation brought in to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Some Tory MPs have said they submitted letters of no confidence in the PM in recent weeks, although the threshold required to trigger an election vote for a new leader has not been reached.

Apart from his actions being subject to both a Met Police investigation and a parliamentary report being conducted by senior civil servant Sue Gray, Mr. Johnson is also facing challenges over whether he has lied to parliament again. Whilst this is not a criminal offence in itself (a petition in 2021 which aimed to make intentionally misleading parliament a criminal offence garnered more than 100,000 signatures was unsuccessful, being told the government ‘does not plan to’ implement the change) it can lead to being held in ‘contempt’ of parliament.

 The penalties for this generally include the minister in question being forced to resign, although Boris Johnson did not resign when a court order on March 5th 2021 found he had misled Parliament on at least one occasion over coronavirus contracts.

The PM and his allies have said that he is ready to fight to hold onto his position, even if the police issue him with a fixed penalty notice for breaching restrictions, and it is believed that Mr. Johnson has sought out a private lawyer to defend his actions should he be questioned by police regarding the scandal.

While it appears that he currently has no intention of resigning, pressure is mounting on the Prime Minister after former PM Sir John Major was quoted saying that Mr. Johnson’s actions have ‘shredded’ the UK’s reputation overseas. This, coupled with the continuing outcry among members of his own party, leaves the PM’s position looking rather unstable. With a cost of living crisis on the horizon, compounded by a rising energy price cap that many feel is largely a political (and therefore caused by the current conservative government) concern, the PM’s job has never been more at risk.

The report by Sue Gray, the findings of which have been only partially released due to the ongoing Met Police investigation, states that there were serious ‘failures of leadership and judgement’, leading to widespread criticism and outrage from both the general public and MPs from both the opposition and the government.

The report, which is looking into all of the events that took place during lockdown at No.10 Downing Street, is expected to be published in full upon the conclusion of the Met Police’s own investigation into the parties that took place during the UK’s coronavirus lockdowns.

To add insult to injury, several of the PMs most senior aides have resigned recently, forcing him to ‘reshuffle’ his cabinet again. Whether or not Boris Johnson will resign remains to be seen.

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