Boris Johnson resigned from his mandate as an MP on Friday June 9, citing the parliamentary inquiry into “partygate”, the parties organized in Downing Street in violation of the health restrictions in force during the Covid-19 epidemic. The 58-year-old former British prime minister announced that his decision would take effect immediately. It will give rise to a by-election, which will add a little more to the political pressure exerted on his successor, Rishi Sunak.
A year after he was ousted from Downing Street by his majority following three years in office marred by a succession of scandals, Mr Johnson remained under a parliamentary inquiry to determine whether he had lied in the partygate affair. The commission of privileges, in charge of the investigation, is in the process of completing its work and had just, according to the British press, submitted its conclusions. “I have received a letter from the Privileges Committee which makes it clear – to my astonishment – that they are determined to use the procedure against me to oust me from Parliament”writes the former Conservative Prime Minister in a press release.
“I am very sad to leave Parliament – at least for now – but above all I am appalled that I was forced to leave, in an undemocratic way”he adds, accusing the commission of “blatant bias”. He criticizes the members of the commission for having produced a report which has not yet been published, “Riddled with inaccuracies and reeking of prejudice”without giving him “no formal possibility of contesting what they say”.
In March, heard for more than three hours by the commission, Boris Johnson had affirmed ” The hand on the heart “ that he had not lied to Parliament. He was forced to resign in the summer of 2022 after a succession of scandals, the first of which were these parties in Downing Street during the confinements. He had faced a series of resignations within his government, including that of Rishi Sunak.
Revenge against Rishi Sunak
But the leader, who was still a deputy, remained very influential in the conservative majority. Boris Johnson, who is about to celebrate his 59th birthday, has not hidden his desire to return to power, even if he has converted by speaking in very lucrative conferences.
As he points out in his Friday evening statement, his resignation triggers an immediate by-election. Earlier in the day, one of his closest allies, his former culture minister, who was still an MP, Nadine Dorries, also announced her resignation with immediate effect. Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister since October 2022, will thus find himself facing electoral tests which promise to be difficult at a time when the Conservatives are at their lowest in the polls, after thirteen years in power. In early May, the Tories had already suffered major losses in local elections in England.
Boris Johnson’s resignation is likely to be seen as revenge against Rishi Sunak. The former leader also curbs the government in his press release. “When I left office last year, the government was only a handful of points behind in the polls. This gap has now widened considerably.he wrote. “Just a few years after winning the biggest majority in nearly half a century [lors de son élection en 2019]this majority is today clearly threatenedhe criticizes. Our party urgently needs to regain momentum and faith in what this country can do. »
Labor’s Angela Rayner was quick to react on Twitter. “As Boris Johnson steps down in disgrace, Britons are tired of this endless Tory soap opera being played out at their expense. » And to add: “After thirteen years of conservative chaos, enough is enough. It’s time for a fresh start for Britain with a Labor government. »