The British prime minister is to resign: after Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, Health Minister Sajid Javid and dozens of other cabinet staff members resigned from their posts in protest against Boris Johnson’s conduct in office, the latter announced his resignation as party leader today, Thursday, according to media reports.
Despite all the scandals he wants to remain in his post as prime minister until the autumn. Not all commentators are relieved.
Europe needs Johnson more than ever
Hardly any politician is as resolute in their stance against Putin as the British PM, writes the tabloid Blick:
“Johnson has taken a lot of liberties. … But these domestic scandals should not distract from the fact that Europe needs Johnson more than ever. No politician in the world – except Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky – has given Putin a clearer telling-off. … Johnson is more of a clown than a prime minister, his opponents complain. Perhaps. But what they overlook is that those people who are taking serious steps to stand up to the Kremlin are the clowns like Johnson or ex-comedian Zelensky. The world needs them urgently. Only they seem truly willing to disrupt the show of the brutal lion tamer in Moscow.”
Patience running out
The British are getting fed up with their prime minister, Ilta-Sanomat believes:
“In recent months, Johnson has been praised for his unbending resolve on the Ukraine issue. Johnson’s problem is that Ukrainians don’t vote in British elections. At home, Johnson’s opponents claim he’s just polishing his image with the war. So far, Johnson had weathered his scandals with ruthless rudeness. The British have always been sympathetic to their prime minister, who stumbled smilingly from one scandal to the next. Now their patience is running out.”
Boris Johnson was refusing to resign against all odds, Jutarnji list notes:
“Johnson is currently facing his worst leadership crisis since he took office. … Seven out of ten Brits say Johnson should resign, according to a YouGov flash survey of 3000 respondents. Despite this, according to several media outlets, Johnson had told MPs that he intended to remain PM [before bowing to the pressure this Thursday morning]. … What the Conservatives fear most is that if they do replace Johnson [now] this will have even more devastating consequences for the party and public trust.”
The prime minister has lost the trust of the party and the population, The Times concludes:
“There is no conceivable chance that Mr Johnson … can recover his authority to provide the effective leadership that the country needs at a time of acute national crisis. Every day that he remains deepens the sense of chaos. For the good of the country, he should go. What has brought Mr Johnson to this position is the same character flaws that have dogged his entire career: his persistent lying and flagrant disregard for the codes and conventions that necessarily underpin public life.”
Why did it take this long?
The fact that it took the two ministers so long to turn their backs on Johnson spurs doubts about their motives, says The Guardian:
“Their pious words turn to ash when considering how many times every member of the cabinet, every slavish minister and every aspiring Conservative backbencher has defended the monstrously indefensible behaviour of Boris Johnson. … The two ministers making ‘principled’ resignations (and it seems likely that more will follow) have tolerated so much that it suggests political calculation, not moral principle, has prompted their resignations.”
Johnson’s own party is fed up with his leadership style, De Volkskrant suspects:
“It’s typical of the prime minister’s leadership that he defended his colleague [Chris] Pincher for so long. Johnson demands loyalty from his entourage, and he returns that loyalty when they get into trouble. His leadership style has already been compared to that of an autocratic king, complete with courtiers. An ex-journalist, Johnson also tends not to give in to media pressure. He only gives in when he has no other option. After the resignation of two ministers, the pressure on him is growing.”
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